Holidays and Tradition

10 Most Amazing Mayan Ruins – Travel Video

For almost a millennium, the ancient ruins of 
great architecture lay buried beneath the jungle   vegetation on the Yucatan Peninsula. Abandoned by 
their creators these ancient temples and pyramids   are a stunning reminder of a powerful civilization 
that once ruled the people of Central America.   Although the accomplishments of 
the ancient Mayans are astonishing,   no city would escape the inevitable collapse. 
One by one they were swallowed by the rainforest   leaving the amazing Mayan ruins 
hidden, waiting to be discovered. Number 10. Lamanai. Located in northern Belize, Lamanai was 
once a considerably sized Maya city.   The ancient ruins are not completely uncovered 
yet. Archaeological work has concentrated on the   investigation and restoration of the larger 
structures such as the High Temple, a 33 meter   tall temple. Since it was still occupied by the 
Maya when the Spanish arrived, Lamanai, which in   Maya means “submerged crocodile”, is one of the 
few Mayan sites to retain its traditional name. Number 9. Coba. Coba in Mexico was a large ancient Maya city that 
was home to about 50,000 inhabitants at its peak.   Most of it’s monuments were built between 500 
and 900 AD. New temples were built and old ones   kept in repair until at least the 14th century 
perhaps as late as the arrival of the Spanish.   Coba contains several large temple pyramids, 
the tallest is about 42 meters high. Today   only a small portion of the site has been cleared 
from the jungle and restored by archaeologists. Number 8. Copan. Located in western Honduras, Copán 
was a relatively small Mayan city   well-known for it’s remarkable series of portrait 
stelae. The stelae and sculptured decorations of   the buildings of Copán are some of the very 
finest surviving art of ancient Mesoamerica.   Some of the stone structures at Copán 
date back to the 9th century BC.   The city grew into one of the most 
important Maya sites by the 5th century   with more than 20,000 inhabitants but was 
mysteriously abandoned a few centuries later. Number 7. Caracol. Siting high on a plateau, 500 meters above 
sea level, Caracol is the largest Maya site   in Belize. It was once one of the largest ancient 
Maya cities, covering some 168 square kilometers.   At its peak around 650 AD it had an 
estimated population of about 150,000,   more than twice as many people as Belize 
City has today. With a hight of 43 meters,   the largest pyramid in Caracol is still the 
tallest man-made structure in all of Belize. Number 6. Tulum. An hours’ drive from Cancun, the Tulum ruins 
are the remains of an ancient cliff top fortress   built by the Mayans. Walled on three sides 
with the fourth open to the Caribbean Sea,   the views are simply incredible. 
Even though it dates back to 564 AD,   Tulum was at its prime during the 13th and 14th 
centuries. It was a powerful trading hub for jade,   cotton, and cacao beans. Apart from the 
El Castillo pyramid, the main attraction,   have a look at the beautiful mural 
inside the Temple of the Frescoes   and go for a swim at Tulum’s secret beach, 
surrounded by palm trees and sunbathing iguanas. Number 5. Calakmul. Hidden inside the jungles of the Mexican state 
of Campeche, Calakmul is one of the largest Maya   cities ever uncovered. Calakmul was a powerful 
city that challenged the supremacy of Tikal   and engaged in a strategy of surrounding 
it with its own network of allies.   From the second half of the 6th century AD 
through to the late 7th century Calakmul   gained the upper hand although it failed 
to extinguish Tikal’s power completely.   Eventually both cities succumbed 
to the spreading Maya collapse. Number 4. Palenque. Rising from the dense jungle, Palenque is an 
archaeological site that was located on the   western edge of the Maya civilization in 
the present-day state of Chiapas, Mexico.   Palenque is much smaller than 
some of it Mayan neighbor cities,   but it contains some of the finest architecture 
and sculptures the Maya ever produced. Most   structures in Palenque date from about 600 AD 
to 800 AD including the Temple of Inscriptions,   the only Mesoamerican pyramid 
built as a funerary monument. Number 3. Uxmal. Uxmal, meaning “built three times” 
in the Mayan language, is one of the   best preserved Mayan sites in Mexico. The most 
recognizable and tallest structure at 115 feet   is the Pyramid of the Magician. The layers of the 
temple pyramid are oval unlike the rectangular   or square layers of other Mayan pyramids. The 
pyramid appears to have been built in five phases,   starting from the sixth century continuing 
periodically through the 10th century. Number 2. Tikal. With its grey temple-tops protruding through 
the lush canopy of the Guatemalan jungle,   catching a glimpse of the ruins of Tikal 
is something truly special. A popular day   trip from Flores, these remote ruins are dotted 
with pyramids, temples and palaces. One of the   biggest archaeological sites in Mesoamerica, 
Tikal was the largest and most powerful of   the Mayan cities around 600 AD. Don’t miss the 
Temple of the Two Headed Snake while you’re here.   As one of the tallest pre-Columbian 
structures in the Western Hemisphere,   climbing to the top will treat you to incredible 
360-degree views of the rainforest and beyond. Number 1. Chichen Itza. One of the most famous 
archaeological sites on Earth,   Chichen Itza was once a thriving 
city on the Yucatan Peninsula.   Built by the Mayans in 600 AD, it was abandoned in 
1221 when Mayapan became the region’s new capital.   Highlights include the Temple of Kukulkan, a giant 
stone pyramid with four stairways representing a   compass and 365 steps for each day of the year. It 
is best visited during the spring or fall equinox   when the sun creates a light show on the stairs 
of the pyramid. Other must-see sites include the   Ball Court, the Wall of Skulls, and the Sacred 
Cenote that was once a site of human sacrifice.
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