Veracruz is home to an impressive UNESCO World Heritage Site. El Tajín was a flourishing city by 600 CE and was home to approximately 50 different cultures. The city is believed to span at least 2,500 acres, only about 50% of which has been uncovered. There have been residences, governmental offices, seventeen ball courts, and many other buildings unearthed representing a sprawling city of nearly 100,000 residents at its peak. The most well known of the buildings is the Pyramid of the Niches, pictured below.
They pyramid has 365 niches, thought to represent the solar year. It isn’t clear exactly who built the pyramid but the Totonac and Huasteca people are thought to be the most likely. The Totonac people are well known for their association with the Danza de los Voladores, an ancient ritual that was once widespread in Mesoamerica. Famed Mexican muralist, Diego Rivera, depicted the Voladores in a mural that now hangs in the Palacia National in Mexico City. This is a detailed view of the larger mural:
Today, Totonac voladores perform the ceremony at El Tajín for the 650,000 annual visitors to the ruins.
El Tajín lies approximately one hour from the city of Tecolutla, making it a must-see stop for us during our stay!