Did you know about the existence of the El Cerrito pyramid, whose top has a splendid colonial building? Discover this archaeological site in Querétaro.
It is one of the most unknown treasures in the center of the country, it is the pyramid of El Cerrito. An old ceremonial center that stands out for its conservation and for the great colonial building that it has on its top.
Where is the El Cerrito archaeological zone
It is located in the municipality of Corregidora in Querétaro, 7 kilometers from the state capital.
Its pyramidal basement reaches 40 meters in height, a dimension similar to that of the Pyramid of the Moon in Teotihuacán. To this structure are added the squares of Dance and Sculptures, the Altar of Skulls and the Palace of the Four Altars.
History of El Cerrito or Pyramid of El Pueblito
Throughout history, the El Cerrito archaeological zone has received different names. During the 18th century, it was baptized as Cerro Pelón, since its main structure looks like a natural formation from afar. It is also known as Pirámide del Pueblito, because it is close to the town of the same name.
In pre-Hispanic times, El Cerrito was a religious and political center that was venerated by local cultures, in addition to Teotihuacanos, Toltecs, Chichimecas, Otomí, and Tarascos. The lands around El Cerrito are largely fertile, as well as having easy access to water. Due to this, this region flourished as an agricultural power, whose commercial network reached Guatemala.
According to research, the current state of Querétaro served as a border for different native peoples before colonization. In this territory, sedentary and nomadic populations converged.
According to the archaeological remains found, the region was inhabited for 2,500 years. The first settlements were in Chupícuaro, on the banks of the Lerma River, then in San Juan del Río, and in Querétaro. These pre-classical civilizations were the cultural base of those that later developed in central Mexico, including the Mexica.
Decline of the ceremonial center
During its heyday (900 to 1200 AD), the Chupícuaro civilization served as the economic and political head, being contemporary with Tula and Teotihuacán. Later, El Cerrito was transformed into a ceremonial center, where empowerment rituals were performed for warriors and great lords. On the outside, a large number of skulls were deposited, forming a tzompantli of what is thought, they were elite warriors.
Finally, by 1200 AD the Toltecs left the region. However, it continued to be a site of veneration for various indigenous ethnic groups until the 17th century. Although El Cerrito never recovered its splendor, various groups came to honor a female deity, probably the Mother of the Gods. To conclude the non-Christian rituals, in 1632 the Franciscan Order placed an image of the Virgin Mary within the enclosure.
El Fortín, modern building at the top
In 1887, the Pueblito Pyramid was modified to make an eclectic construction, this building is known as El Fortín. This place, exceptional in archaeological remains, was the shrine of the Virgen del Pueblito, to which great miracles were attributed. According to Daniel Valencia, archaeologist in charge of the area:
“For more than a century the Virgin of El Pueblito was venerated in El Cerrito, until its change to the sanctuary, in 1735. At present, the sculpture is still taken to the archaeological zone, but every five years, in the month of October, the locals pray to him at night. “
For a long time, this archaeological site remained abandoned. The four faces of its walls were full of weeds and shrubs, hence its name. As of 2019, the INAH has advanced in the process of its conservation and structures are currently protected to prevent their erosion. It should be noted that the discovery of the central structure is of recent origin (1941), for which the process of land reclamation and excavation has been gradual.
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Address and hours of El Cerrito
Hours of the archaeological zone: Tuesday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Address: Hidalgo s / n, Col. El Pueblito, CP 76159, Corregidora, Qro.
Telephone : (442) 209 60 00, ext. 2017.
Site Museum hours: Tuesday to Friday from 10:00 to 14:00 and Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 to 15:00.