Teotihuacan Research Laboratory

Urban Planning


by Research Professor Saburo Sugiyama

Teotihuacan was a rigorously planned city with a highly symbolic spatial distribution of buildings. Well advanced indigenous engineering technologies were applied to create the central monumental zone with an exceptionally precise and standardized architectural style.

The current city layout demonstrates that Teotihuacan leaders manifested their unique cosmology utilizing profound knowledge of mathematics and astronomy.

The perpendicularly aligned city layout was oriented on the basis of the direction of sunset on August 12 and April 30, between which 260 days passed, corresponding to a highly important ritual cycle in Mesoamerica.

August 12 was also important in Mesoamerica as the initial day of the present world.

This leads us to believe that the city was founded on a cosmogony emphasizing the importance of the 260-day ritual calendar.

Recent work on the measurement unit used to build architecture also indicates that the Teotihuacan leaders encoded cosmological significance in the city layout.

One of the conclusions of this study is that the city was apparently planned and constructed using a measurement unit corresponding to 83.0 cm, and that the size of major pyramids or distances between them reflected the cycles of the Sun, the Moon, Venus and the Mesoamerican calendar systems. Among them, the most important cycle was the 260-day ritual cycle.