An overview of Mexico’s pre-Colombian Cultures

We have been traveling in Mexico for a month now. And as you may know, the country have a very rich pre-Columbian heritages. Visiting and learning about them has been a great deal of fun. Something even more fun is talking about it with locals; I never imagined that aliens have such an influence in these Cultures.

The first known civilization of Mexico is the Olmecs. They lived in the Gulf of Mexico from 1500 BC to 450 AD. Amongst all the very impressive statues they made, they left behind them 17 colossal heads who share similar traits and came with different headdresses. Scholars things they represent their leaders. These sculptures height range from 1,5m to 3,5m, and weight between 6 and 50 tons. Ho, also the rocks they are made of, came all from the same mountain although they are found in the entire Olmec land. How they moved those 50 Tons boulders without wheels, is still an enigma.


Olmec heads

After the Olmecs came the superstar of the New World, the Mayans. Living mainly in the South of the country they were great builders, the pyramid of Tikal still stand at more than 70m above the rainforest.
Their main Gods were Chac, the God of corn, Caan the one who lit the sky, and Ah, the god that pees in the sky (aka the God of Rain). Their civilization standed for an insane amount of time, more than 3500 years! The Preclassic period (the beginning) started around 2000 BC, and they were in the Postclassic period by the arrival of the Conquistadores ,around 1520 AD. A local told us that when the Spaniards arrived, they escaped with aliens in caves deep down in the Earth… Btw, they are still living there and they will eventually come back…


Mayan pyramid, El Mecco

Simultaneously, in the North were the Teotihuacanos. They lived in the huge city named (Spoiler alert) Teotihuacan. This antique megalopolis (the populations has been estimated more of 250k) is located at 40 km in the North of Mexico DF, and was the 6th biggest city in that epoch. It feature one of the largest structures of Mexico. The pyramids of the Moon (40m height) and the pyramids of the Sun (65m height). They have been built between 200 BC and 750 AD. Those buildings were constructed around a main street , the Avenue of Dead, who is 4 km long and in perfectly alignement with the sunset on specific religious dates. The inhabitants eventually left the place for Gods-know-what reason around 900 AD. When the Aztecs discovered the city hundreds of years later, it was already in ruins. It was so big that they believed no men could have built it, and that in this city ‘the Gods were born’. They reused the ruins as a ceremonial Center.


Avenue of the Dead and pyramid of the Sun


An other influent people were the Toltecs. Those nomads were seen in different parts of the Country around 700 DC. They are know for the pyramid of  the four Atlantes. An atlant is a column sculpted in the form of a man, but for the locals the name implied that they represent “actual” Atlantes, from Atlantis because of their performance. They have big heads like helmets, big boots, but most of all; The fact that they have what look like 60’s Scifi movie’s laser guns in their hands doesn’t help.



A lot of peoples we talked with about them believe that the Toltecs were in contact with aliens (yep, them too), that their cities were built at special place with moving magnetic fields and the aliens have helped them building the pyramids. Sound like a ‘chili overdose’ if you ask me.
Of all the ancient cultures over here, they seemed to be the best astronomers. They built special pool to observe night sky reflection without breaking their necks.
They had big influence in Postclassic Mayan constructions. Their best work of art is El Castillo in Chichen Itza, where you can see an impressive lights and shadows effects on Spring equinox, that look like a giant snake is descending the pyramids stairs.


Chichen Itza

Central Mexico, 1300 AD. A group arrived from the North and decided to build a city on an island of the Texcoco Lake. They named the city Tenochtitlan. Soon they started the building of artificial islands. Known as the Mexicas or the Aztecs, their influence reached over Central and South Mexico which can be observed in the late Mayan buildings. The modern city of Mexico DF is constructed on top of Tenochtitlan. The spaniards ripped apart the Templo Mayor to build the Cathedral of Mexico.

aztec cal.jpg

Aztec Calendar


Although these cultures are different they have a lot of things in common. Mostly some Gods, human sacrifices and the Ball game.

Over the ball game ‘a game where the winner loose his life’ I can write a whole article. But for know, What i can say is that the game is different in every city. Other rules, other balls, other players sacrificed. Players played in teams of 3 to 13 and have to pass the ball in a ring only by touching it by hips, knees and elbow.

The God Quetzalcoatl, the Feathered Snake. He is the God of wind and learning. He is also one of the creator of the World. His celebration started from Teotihuacan where the first temple was found and spread later to all other Cultures (600- 900 AD). Like all Gods he had different names in different cultures. For example, Mayans called him Kukulkan.

During our stay in Mexico we already crossed others Cultures. I know there are a lot more than these five who made history more than the others. This is just a quick review of what we have learned so far. Later on we will visit more Mayans settlements in Belize, Guatemala and you can expect to hear more about them.


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