The World’s largest Pyramid
The world’s largest pyramid and the most talked-about pyramid is the Egypt’s great pyramid of Giza. But actually, the world’s largest pyramid is the Great Pyramid of Cholula. It’s an ancient Aztec temple in Puebla, Mexico. Its base covers an area that is four times more than Giza’s and nearly twice the volume. This world’s biggest pyramid is most overlooked because of its large structure is hidden beneath a dirt layer. It looks more like a natural mountain than a place of worship.
When the Spanish explorer, Hernán Cortés with his army marched into the Cholula, they were greeted with peaceful people prone to build pyramids and not with stockpiles of weapons. They had built a church on the top of the mountain.
This great pyramid of Cholula, known as “Tlachihualtepetl” (man-made mountain) stands nearly 200 feets tall and 1,500 feet wide. The total volume of the pyramids is about 3.3 million m³ which is nearly 166,538,400 ft³. The origins of the pyramids are slightly sketchy. Though the general consensus is that it was built in around 300 BC by many different communities to honor the ancient god, Quetzalcoatl.
The pyramid was likely constructed with adobe, a type of brick made of out of the baked mud. The pyramid features six layers built on top of each over many generations. Every time a layer was completed, a new group of workers would be added to resume the construction. This increment in its growth allowed the pyramid of Cholula to become so big.
When Cortés and his men arrived in Cholula in October 1519, some 1,800 years after the pyramid was constructed, they killed around 3,000 people in an hour. 10% of entire city’s population were killed by them. They even had leveled many of their religious structures.
In 1594, after settling in the city and claiming it for their own, this church was built on the top of the pyramid. It isn’t clear that if the Aztecs knew the mud bricks would encourage things to grow all over it and eventually bury the entire structure. But the fact that it looks more like a mountain than a pyramid is the only reason probably that it still survives today.
It is not only the world’s largest pyramid, it retains the title of the “largest monument ever constructed” anywhere on the Earth by any civilization.
When locals started to build a psychiatric ward nearby, the pyramid was discovered in the 1900s. By the 1930s, archaeologists started to uncover it. They created a series of tunnels stretching 8 kilometers (5 miles) in length to give them access.
Now, over 2,300 years after the world’s largest pyramid‘s initial construction, the site has become a tourist destination.