From Academic Kids

El Tajín is a Pre-Columbian archaeological site near the city of Papantla, in the state of Veracruz, Mexico.

Pyramid of the Niches before restoration; 1913 photo
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Pyramid of the Niches before restoration; 1913 photo

The city El Tajín was the capital of the Totonac state. Tajín means city or place of thunder in the Totonac language, and is believed to have been one of the names for the Totonac god of thunder, lightning and rain.

History of El Tajín

Construction of ceremonial buildings at El Tajín began about the 1st century. Early classic Tajín shows influence of Teotihuacan; early postclassic shows considerable Toltec influence. Construction continued to about the start of the 13th century, at which time the city was conquered and burned by Chichimec invaders. The site continued to be occupied after this by a smaller population, but no new large construction projects were initiated. The site was completely abandoned with the arrival of the Spanish conquerors in the early 16th century.

The abandoned site was overgrown with forest. In 1785 engineer Diego Ruiz visited the site and published the first description of the site. In the early 19th century it was visited by Guillermo Dupaix, Alexander von Humboldt, and Carlos Nebel, who published additional accounts.

The first archeological excavation of the site was made by Jose Garcia Payon from 1943 through 1963. The Mexican Institute of Anthropology & History has made additional restoration to buildings at the site since the 1980s.

Monuments

Missing image
El_Tajín_1.jpg


The ceremonial center of the site is covers only about 1 km square, but there are mostly unexcavated remains of subsidiary buildings extending for a considerable distance beyond.

The ceremonial center has number of temple-pyramids, palaces, and several courts for playing the Mesoamerican ballgame.

The site's most famous building is the Pyramid of the Niches. The step pyramid of 6 terraces is some 60 feet high. The size is only medium as Mesoamerican pyramids go, but the architecture is creates a striking and visually pleasing effect. The terraces are of well cut stone froming a series of 365 niches. A staircase rises up the pyramid's east side. Originally the pyramid was topped by a temple, but little remains of this.

A number of the buildings have carved relief on them, and the site also has some free standing stone stelae. Many of the sculptures depict the ritual ballgame and rituals bloodletting by the elite.

The site is now a tourism destination, has a moderate sized museum.da:El Tajín de:El Tajín pl:El Tajín

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