• INAH / Ramiro Valencia
    INAH / Ramiro Valencia
  • INAH-Mediateca/Teresa Galindo, Miguel Morán
    INAH-Mediateca/Teresa Galindo, Miguel Morán
  • INAH-Mediateca-Teresa Galindo, Miguel Morán
    INAH-Mediateca-Teresa Galindo, Miguel Morán
  • INAH-Mediateca/Teresa Galindo, Miguel Morán
    INAH-Mediateca/Teresa Galindo, Miguel Morán
  • INAH / Alejandro Navarrete
    INAH / Alejandro Navarrete
El Cerrito
Its name comes from the identification of the site with its principal structure.
It was an important ceremonial center with influences from several cultures, particularly the Toltec. Franciscan sources say that around 1632 the indigenous people continued to make offerings to the pre-Hispanic deities on these altars.
About the site

This ceremonial site is in the meadows beside the river El Pueblito. It was built on a small rise to the south of the valley of Querétaro, and it consists of a broad platform on which buildings and plazas were constructed. The site’s most notable structure is a pyramid close to 100 feet in height.

El Cerrito was established as a farming settlement in the early years of the first millennium AD. Between 400 and 650 it became the seat of an important political unit in the valley of Querétaro, since it formed part of the network of sites allied to Teotihuacan that maintained control over the production and trade of obsidian. It was in this period that the great pyramid was built. It reached a peak of development in the mid-seventh century, after the fall of Teotihuacan, which lasted until the eleventh century. During this time, it was a regional center for the worship of a fertility deity visited by many groups who contributed labor for its construction and maintenance. During these years the local elite also established relations with Tula.

The site was built following a quadripartite system: the ceremonial space is divided into four sections oriented to the cardinal points. In addition to the main structure, it had a platform and a group of buildings and plazas decorated with reliefs, crowns and sculptures.

Despite the abandonment of the site in the eleventh century, it was not forgotten by local people who would take offerings there. It was inhabited again in the sixteenth century when the town of San Francisco Galileo was founded, with a population composed of the Otomi and Tarascan ethnic groups. A small pentagonal fort with four turrets was built on top of the great pyramid in the mid-nineteenth century, with an ammunition store in the center. The building was later adapted as the residence of the Fernández de Jáuregui family.

The first exploration work began in 1932 wehn the local inspector of monuments, Miguel Patiño reported a series of unauthorized excavations made by the landowners. Subsequently, formal archeological work began in 1936 under the direction of Eduardo Noguera. In 1944 Carlos Margáin visited the site to gather information on the monuments of the north and west. Observing the architectural layout, he determined that it was of Toltec influence. Later, in 1960, Román Piña Chan proposed that the site dated from the Epiclassic period, and specificallly to the Toltec phase. The El Cerrito archeological project began in 1984. The following year an initial survey took place with Carlos Castañeda and students from the Universidad Veracruzana.

400 a.C.-1690

Preclásico Tardío a periodo virreinal
600 - 1000

Posclásico Temprano

Did you know...
  • The structures are distinguished by their cladding of slabs, carefully positioned without the use of mortar, a characteristic of sites in western Mexico such as Las Yácatas in Michoacán and La Quemada in Zacatecas.
Practical information
Thursday to Sunday from 9:00 to 14:00 hrs. Maximum capacity 60 people at time

Free entry


  • No Smoking
  • No entry with food
  • Pets not allowed
Se localiza a siete kilómetros al suroeste el centro histórico de la ciudad de Querétaro, antes de llegar a la cabecera municipal de Corregidora.

From the city of Querétaro, take Constituyentes Boulevard (formerly the toll-free road to Celaya), turn right at the Tejada bridge, continue along Gran Cú street or Pirámide street until Hidalgo street, where the main gate is located.

Services
  • Estacionamiento
  • Sanitarios
  • +52 (442) 245 5204, +52 (442) 212 0172
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Directory
Administrador de Zonas Arqueológicas del Centro INAH Querétaro
Armando Bahena Quintana
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
+52 (442) 212 2036, ext. 308013
1780
Cerrito-32
190_A_el_cerrito_alejandro_navarrete_1
INAH / Ramiro Valencia
ZA_El_cerrito
Cerrito-5
INAH-Mediateca/Teresa Galindo, Miguel Morán
Cerrito-7
INAH-Mediateca-Teresa Galindo, Miguel Morán
Cerrito-9
INAH-Mediateca/Teresa Galindo, Miguel Morán
El_cerrito4
Elcerrito1
190_A_el_cerrito_alejandro_navarrete_4
INAH / Alejandro Navarrete
Altiplano Central
Museo de Sitio El Cerrito
Fue un importante centro ceremonial que recibió la influencia de diversas culturas, especialmente de los toltecas. Fuentes franciscanas señalan que hacia 1632 los indígenas continuaban ofrendando a las deidades prehispánicas en los altares del sitio.
It was an important ceremonial center with influences from several cultures, particularly the Toltec. Franciscan sources say that around 1632 the indigenous people continued to make offerings to the pre-Hispanic deities on these altars.
Recibe este nombre por tener un basamento piramidal de grandes proporciones que a la distancia parece una formación natural.
Its name comes from the identification of the site with its principal structure.

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