Life

The Largest Pyramid In The World Is Actually In North America

Huh? We definitely would have guessed Egypt.

It’s no secret that world’s most famous pyramids are in Egypt. But if you can’t afford to fly halfway around the world, don’t like sand, or want to be a hipster tourist and visit the pyramid “nobody else is talking about,” an alternative is closer than you think.

In the city of Puebla, Mexico, just a two or three hour drive from Mexico City, lies the Great Pyramid of Cholula, the largest known pyramid on the planet. The giant structure is an ancient Aztec temple.

The Great Pyramid of Cholula stands 66 meters tall and its base covers more than 200,000 square feet—more than four times the size of the base of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. Or as this helpful Business Insider video notes for us metrically-challenged Americans, even Michael Phelps would get tired swimming around it:

So how is it that you have never heard of the biggest pyramid in the world? Well, it sounds funny to say about one of the Earth’s largest structures, but it’s really hard to find. Why? Well, the Great Pyramid of Cholula is actually made of mud. As time passed, grass and vegetation took over until the pyramid looked like a grassy hill in the Shire.

In fact, even Spanish explorers—famed finders of things—were so oblivious to the pyramid when they arrived in the 1500s that they built a church right on top of it.

Of course, the fact that the Spanish—also famed destroyers of things they found— never uncovered the pyramid is one reason it still stands today. The Spanish leveled most of the other religious structures in the area, but the pyramid went unnoticed until locals re-discovered it in 1910. Today visitors can explore some of the excavated tunnels and visit the on-site museum to learn more about this ancient wonder. As long as you know where to look.