Cañada de la Virgen Pyramids

The main pyramid and sunken court of Cañada de la Virgen

Built beginning about 1,500 years ago, and occupied until about 1,000 years ago, the Cañada de la Virgen pyramid complex lies just fifteen miles or so to the west of the town, and within the municipality of San Miguel. It is believed that the builders were initially Otomi, who at that time had strong Zapotec ties, and this would have been their center of religion, culture, and administration for the area. The site, which consists of four separate but connected complexes (one still remains to be dug) has just been substantially excavated, renovated, and opened to the public.

The orientation of the structures are related to the movement of the sun, moon, and other celestial objects. The Complex A, main pyramid, above, sits at the head of a large sunken court, probably used for ball games and ceremonial activities, with stepped sides for seating. On it’s peak, but not open to the public, the Temple of the Thirteen Heavens houses what is left of a simple mural. Complex B sits adjacent with a smaller pyramid at the corner of another sunken court, and a third structure, Complex D, features an unusual small stepped circular pyramid and circular court.

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