August 21, 2007

Teotihuacan Archaeological Site + Acolman Ex-Convent (Mexico State), 19.08.07

Photoset Map

Full Photoset Show

GPS Track: KMZ (Google Earth), or GPX (MapSource, et al).

GPS Cycling Data:

Distance: 108 Km, Total Ascent: 550 m, Total Descent: 525 m, Time: 04:03 hr, Avg. Speed: 25.80 Km/hr, Max Speed: 57.90 Km/hr, Energy Expended: 20.21 MJ, Power: 346.60 W.

Travel Report:

This ride started at 12:20 (since I had to attend some previous appointments that Sunday's morning). Being so late, I decided to make a long due ride that I had not made because its destination is relatively too near from Mexico City: the cycling ride towards the Teotihuacan Archaeological Site !

This archaeological site is only 50 km distant from Mexico City center. I had been there a lot of times before (once with the companion of fellow cyclists), but I had never gone cycling to Teotihuacan and entered in the archaeological site, in order to ascend the Sun Pyramid. Well, now I had opportunity to change this fact, and pay my debts :-)

I took Eje Central Avenue (to the north) in order to gain access to Insurgentes Norte Av. Insurgentes put me directly at the Pachuca exit highway. There were (as usual) two roads to ride towards Teotihuacan: the free and the toll highways. As I have already rode a number of times on the toll highway, I decided that this time I would use the free highway, an unknown route for me :-)

So, in Ecatepec I branched out to take the free Pachuca highway, passing soon by Venta de Carpio, where I could find a gigantic second-hand automotive market. There were kilometers of second-hand autos looking for a new owner. Next town on the route wasTepexpan . Along the ride I entered in the town of Acolman. I was already passing by it, when a fortuitous look made me realize I was going to miss something serious: the Augustine Ex-Convent of Acolman.

This Ex-Convent (a national museum) is located at the exit of Acolman, in Teotihuacan direction. I could have really missed it. Just the sheer quantity of autos trying to find a place to park made me look in the right direction. I didn't have all the time in the world, but somehow I arrived to the instantaneous conclusion that maybe I was not going to have the time and opportunity to re-visit thatimponent and enormous convent. So, making a U-turn I entered in the parking area of the site.

When I entered in the convent's atrium, I was mesmerized by the size and elegance of the building. Its sheer size imposes immediately upon the visitors. But it is its simplicity and cleanliness of lines that blow up its stunning image. It is difficult to imagine such a big yet simple religious building. And, on top of all, the Ex-Convent is located in the middle of an immense atrium, beautifully decorated with a green carpet of grass. An idyllic scene, indeed.

The facade of the convent depicts several religious images (saints and angels) beautifully sculpted in stone and built on the top of columns ofplateresque style. The arch of the door of the temple is also beautifully sculpted with religious images. A significant fact of this convent is that it is still in almost pristine conservation conditions, in spite of being built between 1539 and 1560. It really seems as the time had stopped its march on this convent. I have seen modern churches which look older than this preciously preserved Acolman Convent.

Once inside the Convent's Museum, a lot of colonial religious oil paintings can be appreciated, along with an extensive exposition of objects used by the Augustine monks that once inhabited the walls of that Convent. Not only religious items can be appreciated, but alsochapells, adoratoriums and monk's cells can be seen there. The convent features several interior halls, which house orange trees and sometimes, a water spring or a stone cross. The corridors of the convent are impressive by its elegance and size, flanked by columns and arches ofplateresque style. The jewels of the convent are the frescoes that depict some scenes of Christ Passion. Those frescoes are still admirably well preserved, as you can observe in the photographs shown in the Photoset.

After such a magnificent visit to the Acolman Ex-Convent, all that was still required was to cycle at top speed non stop ... in order to arrive at a decent hour at the Teotihuacan Archaeological Site, where I arrived at 15:50 (last entry hour is 17:30).

The Teotihuacan Archaeological Site is by far, the biggest site in Mexico, having covered in its cultural apogee a total of 38 square kilometers. with a population if 170,000 inhabitants. It houses two enormous pyramids: Sun's and Moon's, a big avenue (Dead's Avenue), several temples (to Quetzalcoatl, between them) and residential buildings. The Sun Pyramid is one of the biggest in America (second only to the GreatCholula Pyramid).

Once in the site, I swiftly proceeded to take some pictures of the Dead's Avenue, the Moon Pyramid, and of course, of the Sun Pyramid. The bad news was that rain had started to fall at my arrival at Teotihuacan ... never stopping while I was roaming around the site. So I had to made the whole visit under rainfall. Having no other course at hand, I started to climb the Sun Pyramid. I was fortunate enough to obtain some precious pictures of the vistas at the top of the pyramid, although I had towhitstand the rain and strong wind at the top of the building. I would strongly recommend you having a look at the photos of the site at the above linked Photoset show.

Owed to the rain, I had to shorten my visit to the site, so as soon as I climbed down the pyramid, I decided it was time to start the return leg of the trip, since rain was not going to stop any moment now. I cycled back towards Mexico City, riding in the toll highway up to the toll station, where I had to take a bypass, since this is the one and only toll station where bicycles are not allowed to pass. From there I took the road through Ecatepec, taking later Centenario Avenue in order to ride towards the center of Mexico City, using at the end Congreso de la Union Av, which finally delivered me (after branching out in Boturini) to the safety of home, which I reached at 19:30, with full solar light (at last) !

Thank you for reading. Till the next travel.

1 comment:

upton said...

Great posting!