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El Tajin, Pre-Hispanic City

El Tajin, Pre-Hispanic City

Located in the state of Veracruz, El Tajin was at its height from the early 9th to the early 13th century. It became the most important centre in north-east Mesoamerica after the fall of the Teotihuacan Empire. Its cultural influence extended all along the Gulf and penetrated into the Maya region and the high plateaux of central Mexico. Its architecture, which is unique in Mesoamerica, is characterized by elaborate carved reliefs on the columns and frieze. The 'Pyramid of the Niches', a masterpiece of ancient Mexican and American architecture, reveals the astronomical and symbolic significance of the buildings. El Tajin has survived as an outstanding example of the grandeur and importance of the pre-Hispanic cultures of Mexico.

El Tajin, cité préhispanique

Situé dans l'État de Veracruz, El Tajin atteignit son apogée entre le début du IXe et le début du XIIIe siècle. Le site devint le centre le plus important du nord-est de l'Amérique centrale après la chute de Teotihuacan. L'influence culturelle de ce centre s'est étendue à tout le golfe et a pénétré la zone maya et les hauts plateaux du Mexique central. Son architecture unique en Amérique centrale se caractérise par des reliefs sculptés très élaborés sur les colonnes et sur les frises. La « Pirámide de los Nichos », considérée comme un chef-d'œuvre de l'ancienne architecture mexicaine et américaine, matérialise la nature astronomique et symbolique des bâtiments. El Tajin subsiste comme un exemple exceptionnel de la grandeur et de l'importance des cultures préhispaniques mexicaines.

مدينة ال تاخين التي تعود الى ما قبل الغزو الاسباني

تقع ال تاخين في دولة فيراكروز، وهي بلغت ذروة ازدهارها بين بداية القرن التاسع وبداية القرن الثالث عشر. وأصبح هذا الموقع المركز الأهم في شمال شرق أميركا الوسطى بعد انهيار تيوتيهواكان. وتوسّع التأثير الثقافي لهذا المركز ليشمل كل دول الخليج كما دخل الى منطقة المايا والهضبات العالية في وسط المكسيك. وتتميّز هندسته الفريدة في أميركا الوسطى بالنقوش البارزة القديمة الموجودة على الأعمدة والافريزات. وتجسّد "لا بيراميدي دي لوس نوشيز" التي تُعتبر تحفة من الهندسة المكسيكية والاميركية القديمة، الطبيعة الفلكية والرمزية للأبنية. ولا تزال ال تاخين صامدةً كمثالٍ استثنائي على ضخامة وأهمية الثقافات المكسيكية قبل الغزو الاسباني.

source: UNESCO/ERI

埃尔塔津古城

埃尔塔津古城位于维拉克鲁斯省境内,它的鼎盛时期从公元9世纪初开始,一直延续到公元13世纪初期。在特奥蒂瓦坎帝国衰败以后,这里成为中美洲东北部最重要的城市之一,它的文化影响力沿着墨西哥湾一直到达玛雅地区和墨西哥中部高原。埃尔塔津古城中的建筑以精美的圆柱浮雕和中楣浮雕著称,在中美洲地区是独一无二的。著名的“壁龛金字塔”遗迹体现了古代墨西哥和美洲的建筑特色,展示了其重要的天文学意义和象征含义。埃尔塔津古城遗址证明了墨西哥古美洲文化的伟大和重要性。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Доиспанский город Эль-Тахин

Расположенный в штате Веракрус, Эль-Тахин находился в периоде расцвета с начала IX в. до начала XIII в. Он превратился в самый важный центр на северо-востоке Центральной Америки после падения империи Теотиуакан. Его культурное влияние распространялось на все побережье Мексиканского залива и проникало в регион индейцев майя и на возвышенные плато центральной Мексики. Для архитектуры города, уникальной в Центральной Америке, характерны искусные резные рельефы на колоннах и фризах. «Пирамида с нишами» – шедевр древней мексиканской и американской архитектуры – имеет астрономическое и символическое значение. Эль-Тахин дошел до нас как выдающийся пример величия и значения доиспанской культуры Мексики.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Ciudad prehispánica de El Tajín

Situada en el Estado de Veracruz, la ciudad de El Tajín alcanzó su apogeo entre los inicios del siglo IX y los del XIII, llegando a ser la más importante del nordeste de Mesoamérica después de la caída del Imperio de Teotihuacán. Su influencia cultural se extendió por toda la región del golfo, penetrando también en la región maya y las altiplanicies del centro de México. Su arquitectura es única en toda Mesoamérica y se caracteriza por los relieves sumamente elaborados de las columnas y los frisos. En la Pirámide los Nichos –considerada una obra maestra de la antigua arquitectura mexicana y americana– se pone de manifiesto el significado astronómico y simbólico de los edificios. El Tajín es un vivo y notable ejemplo de la grandeza e importancia de las culturas prehispánicas de México.

source: UNESCO/ERI

古代都市エル・タヒン

source: NFUAJ

Pre-Spaanse stad El Tajin

El Tajin ligt in de staat Veracruz en was op haar hoogtepunt van de 9e tot de 13e eeuw. Het werd het belangrijkste centrum in het noordoosten van Midden-Amerika na de val van het Teotihuacaanse rijk. Haar culturele invloed strekte zich uit langs de hele Golf en drong binnen in de Maya regio en de hoogvlakte van Centraal Mexico. De architectuur – uniek in Midden-Amerika – wordt gekenmerkt door in detail uitgewerkte gebeeldhouwde reliëfs op de zuilen en friezen. De ‘Piramide van de Niches’ - een meesterwerk van oude Mexicaanse en Amerikaanse architectuur - laat zien dat de gebouwen een astronomische en symbolische betekenis hadden.

Source: unesco.nl

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El Tajin, Pre-Hispanic City © David Weekly
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis

El Tajín, Prehispanic City is a site with great significance for Mesoamerican archaeology because it is one of the best preserved and most thoroughly excavated examples of a pre-Hispanic town from the Epiclassic and early Post Classic period, the time between the fall of Teotihuacan and the rise of the Aztec empire. It is crucial to an understanding of the artistic and socio-economic development in these intervening centuries.

It was previously thought that occupation of the El Tajín pre-Hispanic settlement took place in three phases, between 100 B.C. and 1200 A.D. However, recent research has shown that there was only one phase of occupation lasting from 800 to 1200 A.D. El Tajín was abandoned and partly destroyed after 1200 A.D., when the region came under the rule of the powerful Aztec empire. The most important attributes of El Tajín are the buildings with the rich decoration of key-patterns, fretworks, niches, cornices, wall paintings and low reliefs. The reliefs and paintings discovered at the site contain important information on ritual and daily life. The site is furthermore exceptional in that its urban layout is based on the form of the Xicalcoliuhqui (the schematic representation of the cross section of a marine shell) and uses the different levels of the terrain to differentiate access to certain areas. The architecture mirrors the skyline of the surrounding hills. A further exceptional element is the large quantity of ball courts (17) at the site and the building in the form of a Xicalcoliuhqui that is unique in Mesoamerica.

The settlement has a calculated population of 15.000 - 20.000 inhabitants, distributed over three areas, each constructed around a number of open spaces. The Tajín complex, defined by two streams and a wall to the east, is the lowest lying of the three. One of the most impressive monuments is the Pyramid of the Niches, recorded in 1785.

The Tajín complex communicates directly with Tajín Chico, which is constructed on an artificial mound 7 m high. The Tajín Chico complex has not been fully excavated but has revealed some interesting details of this part of the site. Especially noteworthy is Building A, which represents smaller ball courts at each of its four corners, and has a Mayan style arch at the southern access. It is the most richly decorated building in El Tajín, with vertical bands of relief and key-pattern friezes. In Tajín, the plazas are rectangular while in Tajín Chico they are either trapezoidal or in the form of a Greek fret.

The third area, which is linked with and lies above Tajín Chico, is known as the Group of Columns. The name is due to the fact that the larger of the two pyramidal structures has a portico supported by columns, which themselves are richly decorated with relief sculptures.

Criterion (iii): El Tajín supplies unique information on Epiclassic and early Post Classic Mesoamerica and it is the most important site on the Gulf Coast of Mexico in that epoch. The artistic, architectural, and historical values of El Tajín combine to make this a highly significant site. The reliefs and paintings discovered at the site contain important information on society, ritual and daily life. Although there is still uncertainty concerning the origin of this culture, it has been attributed to the huastecos and totonacos, the latter being the indigenous people that are currently living in the area.

Criterion (iv): The site is furthermore exceptional in that its urban layout is based on the form of the Xicalcoliuhqui (the schematic representation of the cross section of a marine shell) and uses the different levels of the terrain to differentiate access to certain areas. Other exceptional elements are the large quantity of ball courts (17), public buildings (168), temples (27), residences (58), altars (3), and domestic houses (46).

Integrity  

All the monuments at El Tajín, including their surrounding landscape, with which they make up an indivisible unit in a harmonious relationship that has survived virtually unaltered over the centuries, have been preserved. All attributes that express the Outstanding Universal Value of the pre-Hispanic City of El Tajín are duly protected within the boundaries of the inscribed property, an area of 1221 hectares including the buffer zone, allowing for the highest level of conservation.

However, there are threats to the integrity and the conservation of the site, derived from development pressure, and the staging of the annual festival “Cumbre Tajín”. The festival activities can result in excessive or inadequate use of the site and will require constant control and monitoring in order to avoid negative impacts.

Authenticity

The site had been undisturbed for over 500 years when investigations began there, and only minor additions or reconstructions have been made since.

Protection and management requirements

El Tajín is a site that is under the custody of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH). It is legally protected by the Mexican Federal Law on Monuments and Archaeological, Artistic and Historical Zones of 1972. In 2001 the site was declared Archaeological Monument Zone by a presidential decree, with a polygon of 1221 hectares, including the archaeological area declared World Heritage.

In order to avoid future deterioration of the site, caused by natural and anthropogenic factors, a multidisciplinary team of experts is monitoring the state of conservation of the monuments and the surrounding landscape since 1984. The conservation of the site is also promoted in order to highlight the importance of its preservation for the use and enjoyment of future generations.

In 2009 a Management plan for the site was approved by the INAH. The plan promotes a sustainable vision of integral conservation and protection of the material and immaterial values of the site. The plan includes the aspects of protection, conservation, investigation, interpretation, creation of public awareness, participation and use, as well as the administration of the site and defines short, medium and long term actions.

Strict application of the existing legislation and the sustainable implementation of the defined planning tools as well as the allocation of resources to conservation and management are necessary means to ensure the conservation of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property in the long term.

Long Description

El Tajin is of great significance in that it is the best preserved and most thoroughly excavated example of a pre-Hispanic town from the period between the Teotihuacan and Mexico-Tenochtitlan empires. It is crucial to an understanding of artistic and socio-economic development in these intervening centuries.

It was previously thought that occupation of the El Tajin pre-Columbian settlement was in three phases, between 100 BC and AD 1200, but recent research has shown that there was only one phase of occupation lasting from 800 to 1200. It dates from the abandonment of the great centre at Teotihuacan and is contemporary with other settlements such as Tula and Xochicalco on the central plateau and Uxmal and Chichen Itza in the Mayan region. The site was abandoned and partly destroyed after 1200 when the region came under the rule of the powerful Mexico-Tenochtitlan kingdom.

The settlement is divided into three areas, each constructed around a number of open spaces (plazas). In Tajin the plazas are rectangular and in Taji Chico they are either trapezoidal or in the form of a Greek fret.

The Tajin complex, defined by two streams and an east wall, is the lowest-lying of three. Its three plazas are surrounded on all sides by monumental structures in the form of pyramids, the most impressive of which is the Pyramid of the Niches. First recorded in 1785, it rises in six steps to a temple at the top. Each storey has rows of square niches, with an overhanging cornice.

Tajin communicates directly with Tajin Chico, which is constructed on an artificial mound 7 m high. Like Tajin it has not been excavated completely; however, the Plaza del Tajin Chico and the buildings round it have been fully excavated and have revealed some interesting details of this part of the complex. Especially noteworthy is Building A, which has smaller buildings at each of its four corners, an unusual feature in pre-Hispanic architecture. It is the most richly decorated building in El Tajin, with vertical bands of relief and key-pattern friezes.

The third area, which is linked with and lies above Tajin Chico, is known as the Group of Columns because of the larger of the two pyramidal structures so far investigated, which has a portico supported on columns, themselves richly decorated with relief sculptures.

The artistic, architectural, and historical importance of El Tajin combines to make this a highly significant site. It has been extensively excavated in recent years and as a result it is probably better understood than many of the more famous pre-Hispanic sites in Mexico.

Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC
Historical Description

It was previously thought that occupation of the El Tajín pre-Columbian settlement was in three phases, between 100 BC and AD 1200, but recent research has shown that there was only one phase of occupation lasting from 800 to 1200. It dates from the abandonment of the great centre at Teotihuacan and is contemporary with other settlements such as Tula and Xochicalco on the central plateau and Uxmal and Chichen ltza in the Mayan region. The site was abandoned and partly destroyed after 1200 when the region came under the rule of the powerful MexicoTenochtitlan kingdom.

The settlement is divided into three areas, each constructed around a number of open spaces (plazas). In Tajtín the plazas are rectangular and in Tajín Chico they are either trapezoidal or in the form of a Greek fret.

The Tajín complex, defined by two streams and an east-west wall, is the lowest-lying of the three. Its three plazas are surrounded on all sides by monumental structures in the form of pyramids, the most impressive of which is the Pyramid of the Niches. First recorded in 1785, it is 36 m square at the base and rises in six steps to a temple at the top. Each storey has rows of square niches, with an overhanging cornice.

Tajín communicates directly with Tajín Chico, which is constructed on an artificial mound 7 m high and measuring 300 m by 1500 m. Like Tajín it has not been excavated completely; however, the Plaza del Tajín Chico and the buildings round it have been fully excavated and have revealed some interesting details of this part of the complex. Especially noteworthy is Building A, which has smaller buildings at each of its four corners, an unusual feature in pre-Hispanic architecture. It is the most richly decorated building in El Tajín, with vertical bands of relief and key-pattern friezes.

The third area, which is linked with and lies above Tajn Chico, is known as the Group of Columns because of the larger of the two pyramidal structures so far investigated. which has a portico supported on columns, themselves richly decorated with relief sculptures.

Source: Advisory Body Evaluation