Standing about 200m from the base of the pyramid there MUST have been some sort of observatory. A place to watch and worship and be humbled... wait... I'll get back to that.
Because before you think I'm just getting all florid and silly, imagining an observatory where there was none: there are a set of ancient stairs there, indicating something significant directly across from this monolith.
And, no mistake, it is a monolith.
The Great Pyramid at Giza stood about 146m when it shone polished white with a gold capstone 4000 years ago. And at only 138m tall today.
The Pyramid of the Sun here stands, currently, at a paltry 75m. A little more than half that height. It was taller, with an alter atop it, but no one can say for certain how big the alter was when was a riotous firework-show of painted friezes, frescos, and sculptures 2000 years ago.
But here's the fun bit: They have almost the same sized base (230m/220m respectively).
This is all to say that this motherfucker is way bigger than it looks in my shitty picture.
So you're not just going to climb up to the top... certainly not as a layperson. (Most certainly wouldn't have been allowed anyway.)
But you could stand before it. And watch.
As the sky behind it grew pink. Then pale. Then the first rays of light would open those famous fingers of dawn around the top level. Crowning the giant shape in a cast of gold.
Then the next level would light up. Then the next. Then the bottom level. The whole mountain lit up from behind with rays of light playing in funny ways through the sculptures of every angle as the day crept up the far side. Finally wreathing the alter atop it in a halo of daybreak.
I'll bet it looked like the whole pyramid looked like it was about to burst into flames as you stood there, in the last bits of shadow in a now sunny valley.
Until, all at once, the sun exploded out of the very zenith of this masterpiece, spilling warmth down the front side. Driving away all the last remnants of darkness.
How holy, truly divine, a moment like that must have felt for people so in touch with the cosmos.
Fuck. How truly divine that would feel tomorrow. For me. An atheist.
That perfect alignment would only happen twice a year. And there was a significance to the placement of this pyramid in relationship to the hill to the north behind the Pyramid of Moon. And, obviously, it's relationship to the Pyramid of the Moon. And to the Pyramid of Quetzalcoatl to the south. And... just about everything else. The skies are reflected in the design and planning and construction and... just about everything else.
(Another fun fact: the relationship between the three main pyramids in Teotihuacan is almost exactly the same relationship between the three main pyramids of Giza. Which... and here's the fun part... is the exact same relationship between the three stars of Orion's Belt.)
Because when you've built a civilisation that is comfortable enough in its resources to allow people the luxury of looking up and the stars and wondering "Why?" then people are capable of truly great things.
Unlike nowadays. When we allow resources to be horded by a handful of fucking monsters while most people are a hair's breath from destitution.
That's actually how empires turn to ruin.
Like Teotihuacan, and Egypt, and Rome, and Mali, and Persia, Greece, the Han, the Umayyad, and on and on and on and on through the river of time. How all empires fall.
And one day get reminisced about by some romantically rambling jackass.