Photo trip to Tula Archaeological Site, Hidalgo
Tula, in the state of Hidalgo, is about an hour and a half’s drive from the sprawl of Mexico City. It is the site of some fascinating archaeological ruins with the main pyramid being topped by four colossal statues called atlantes. This was the ceremonial complex of the Toltec empire, founded around 750 AD, more or less as the Teotihuacán empire was declining.
The day we went, the weather was perfect, providing a backdrop of blue skies with some fluffy white clouds. Located in an area with many different types of cactus growing all around, we did as much nature photography as shooting of the ruins. However, the most stunning feature of this place are the four giant Toltec warriors, about 4.6 meters or 17 feet high, standing on top of the pyramid. They wear feathered headdresses, butterfly breastplates, sun-shaped shields on their backs and special spears and are probably representations of the Feathered Serpent in his guise as the Morning Star. Originally these atlantes were not outside but supported the roof of the temple and therefore were inside. Among other things, the complex includes a couple of pyramids, two ball courts, the Burnt Palace, and walls decorated with jaguars, eagles, snakes and human skulls.
Tula is not a very well-known site and there were few people there at the same time as us. Apart from the visitors, there were a few locals selling souvenirs and crafts and a man at the base of the main pyramid blowing whistles of every kind, ranging from a jaguar’s roar to the plaintive cooing of a dove.