It is the largest pyramid as well as the largest monument ever constructed anywhere in the world.
The Pyramid of Cholula is a marvel of ancient architecture, design, and engineering. The largest Pyramid on Earth is one that perhaps not many have heard of. It’s not located in the land of Pyramids, Egypt, but halfway around the world. In Mexico, we find a monstrous structure with a base four times larger and almost double the volume of that of the Great Pyramid of Giza: The Great Pyramid of Cholula. According to the Guinness Book of Records, it is, in fact, the largest pyramid and monument ever constructed anywhere in the world.
It is recognized as the largest pyramid in volume, having four million, five hundred thousand cubic meters. This means the massive structure dwarfs the Great Pyramid of Giza, which has a volume of two million, five hundred eighty-three thousand cubic meters. The Great Pyramid of Cholula is believed to have been built in one thousand years, and is considered the largest monument ever erected on Earth among all ancient civilizations.
The Great Pyramid of Cholula or Tlachihualtepetl –from the Nahuatl meaning “handmade hill”— features the largest pyramidal basement of a monument with 450 meters per side. In fact, scholars have revealed that it is not a single pyramid at all but one monument stacked atop another. Experts say the pyramid consists of at least six other pyramidal structures.
The pyramid is thought to have ‘grown’ in stages, and successive civilizations and cultures improved what their ancestors had already built. It is equivalent to nine Olympic swimming pools and the largest pyramid on Earth, with a base four times larger than the Great Pyramid of Giza. But even though it is recognized as the largest pyramid on Earth in terms of volume, it isn’t the tallest. The Great Pyramid of Cholula soars 65 meters into the air.
In comparison, the Great Pyramid of Teotihuacan rises 64 meters into the sky. The Great Pyramid of Giza is 139 meters high. It is thought that the pyramid was commissioned either in 300 BC or at the beginning of the Christian era, and scholars estimate that the building process took between 500 and 1,000 years.
The Pyramid of Cholula was most likely buried by the natives of the region when they discovered the threat of advancing Spanish conquistadores. When Cortes and his soldiers arrived at Cholula in 1519, they massacred as many as 3,000 natives in a single hour. They destroyed most of the city’s religious structure. But the pyramid was left intact, completely buried and hidden from sight. The pyramid is a temple traditionally viewed as having been dedicated to the god Quetzalcoatl. The Pyramid of Cholula is also home to massive underground tunnels.
Excavations have resulted in about eight kilometers of tunnels inside the pyramid, which began with two in 1931 to prove that the hill was an archeological find. Researchers discovered altars with offerings, floors, walls, and buried human remains within the tunnels, dating back to around 900 AD. The Spanish built a church on top of the pyramid.
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