No Light and Sound Show for Teotihuacan

By John Mitchell

People climbing the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan
People climbing the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan

Teotihuacan — Mexico’s National Institute of Archaeology and History (INAH) has decided to go along with recommendations made recently by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee and suspend plans for a light and sound show at the pre-Hispanic ruins of Teotihuacan near Mexico City. Numerous Mexican preservationists and archaeologists were also against the show, which was to be called “The Radiance of Teotihuacan.”

The UNESCO committee criticized the absence of a proper management plan and claimed that the project has caused damage to surfaces of the archaeological site’s 2000-year-old pyramids, so the lighting and sound systems have been removed. However, INAH says that it has not totally given up on the idea of lighting up Teotihuacan — which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 — to attract more tourists and help bolster the local economy.

Personally, I’ve never been a big fan of light and sound shows. I often find them to be somewhat garish and over-dramatic. Perhaps it would be a better idea to let groups of visitors into Teotihuacan at night so that they can see its pyramids as the ancients did — by the light of the stars and the silvery moon.