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The Maya-Code | Map of the Maya World (non-Flash)
Chichén Itzá, "the estuary of the fountain of the Itzás", was probably the most important town in the Yucatán from the tenth to the twelfth century. Then in 964, the Itzás, a Mayan-speaking community from the Petén rainforest around Tikal, marched into the hometown. The 98-foot high pyramide, El Castillo (The Castle), towers over the town, while the Temple of Warriors displays mural paintings of battles and villagers' lives.
It was the biggest Mayan seaside town and the only Mayan town to be populated when the Spanish came. All of its edifices are classical Mayan architectural styles. For example, the temple of frescos, with weak signs of blue-green frescos, has a domed ceiling and an architectural triangle. The Castillo, the biggest and most famous edifice on the verge of a 40-foot ridge, and the Temple of the Dowering Lord, carved above the door of a Winged Lord falling towards the ground, are other notable monument.
At its height, the town covered an area of almost 50 sqm. Its most important monuments date from the 6th to 9th century, among them the 75-foot high Tempel of inscriptions. It was built to the great emperor Pakal, who was known as" Mesoamerican Charlemagne". "His grave, found by archaeologists in Mexico in 1952, is located at the foot of a staircase that leads 80 ft down from the top of the zig-ag.
Uxmal, together with Palenque and Tikal, is an architectonic jewel whose architecture reflects a revival of the Mayan architecture in the 7th to 9th mill. Discoverer Jacques Soustelle named Bonampak "a picture encyclopaedia of a Mayan city".
" Constructed along the river LacanjÃ in the 7th and 8th century and finally left to the jungles, the town stayed unexplored until 1946. It is still more challenging to get to most other Mayan websites (with the exception of those in Yorkilán, which still require an hours of boating in the jungle).
In Maya, the word bontampak means "painted walls", and this is exactly what this place is known for: nice mural paintings representing the lives of the Maya people. Openworked ridge of temple 33 is typical for the distinctive architectural style of the city. Situated on the west shore of the Usumacinta river, the town of Yellowchilán ("the place of verdant stones") stretched along the trading-route between the two great Mayan towns of Palenque and Tikal.
Famous for its beautiful churches and extraordinary woodcarvings, this whitewashed town peaked in the Later Classical period, from about 680 to 770. Mayan masterpiece, Temple I overlooking Tikal's Grand Plaza. Tikal is perhaps the first Mayan site with its abundance of buildings, sanctuaries, shrines and rising wards.
Over 1,100 years, the Maya expanded the site to 25 sqm. During its heyday, the town had perhaps 100,000 inhabitants and was governed by a unique ruling family of over 39 consecutive dynasties. Tempel I is 145 ft high, but it is overshadowed by Tempel IV.
Temple IV, erected around 741, is the highest pre-Columbian building in the western hemisphere at 212ft. Here is the biggest Mayan stele, a 65-ton monster known as Monument 5. Monument 5, which dates back to 771, is 35 ft high and 8 ft below ground level. From 725 QuiriguÃ came under the rule of Copan; in this year Copan called 18 Rabbit rulers Cauac Sky as rulers of Quiriguá.
The town had an estimated 150,000 inhabitants at its height between 650 and 700 years. Caracol's biggest edifice, the 138-foot Caana ("Sky Place"), is the highest edifice in old or new Belize. One grave under a bank in the front room of A3, a 52-foot tower above Main Plaza, contains a unique 18-pound observidian frame with 88 pound hornstone.
Situated on the edge of the Mayan region, Altun Ha, which in Yucatec Maya means "stone pond", is known for the marvellous Java that has appeared there. The temple of the Green Tomb got its name after archaeologists found almost 300 pieces of it.
A shattered Condex or Mayan textbook was also included in the church, whose papers had fallen apart but whose decorated plaster surfaces were left in pieces. At over 58 ft, the highest building in the complex, the fine pieces of masonry altars contain the fine pieces of masonry. While archaeologists were digging a grave in the church in 1968, they found a large, completely shaped skull of Kinich Ahau, the god of the sun.
With a weight of almost ten lbs, it was the Mayan's biggest wood carving ever found. This is a classical example of Puuc building (see also the Úxmal entry), Sayil was founded in the 8th cent. Prior to this period, there seemed to be few Mayans living in the area, probably because they did not have effective groundwater level control, which is at least 200ft. underground.
It was only when the Maya learnt on site how to save waters by excavating Chultunas or small subterranean reservoirs that they were able to significantly increase their numbers in the area. Uaxactún is only 16 leagues from Tikal, its rivals town in the old Mayan era. Uaxactún, which in Yucatec Maya means "eight stones" and is called after the first stele found there (dated 328 AD), is one of the most examined Mayan sections.
There, the resulting ceramics sequences provided the foundation for the whole Mayan lowlands timeline. The E-1, E-2 and E-3 structures, which are oriented in a north-south direction and constitute an astronomic observation centre, are one of the most remarkable building complexes on the site, the first in the Mayan Paradise.
The early Maya could observe the sunrise behind these structures from an observatory on a near-by Pyramide, marking the solstice of sunrise in early Maya ( "summer and winters ", the longest and briefest of the year ) and the spring and autumn equinox (, when light and light are of the same length).
It was first settled around 800 B.C. in the Middle Ages and continued to grow until about the age of Christ, when it experienced a long period of decay. To the south-west of Tikal, in 735, Sovereign 3 conquered the Sovereign of Seibal, Yich'ak Balam, and his town from the present-day Mayan town of Dos Pilas, which led to about 60 years of alienation.
In 830 a non-classical Mayan group established itself in Seibal, which experienced its greatest period of prosperity in the course of the next hundred years and had about 10,000 inhabitants. It was finally left in 930 and only re-discovered around 1890. Today it is known for its beautifully engraved steles made of high-quality lime stone. Many archaeologists, travellers and other people have visited this magnificent Mayan town in the north of Honduras since then.
Of the 2,200 bricks that make up the more than 70 levels, each carries glyph carvings that chronicle the story of the 16th Copán empire designed by Yax K'uk Mo'. Just as intriguing are the steles in striking high reliefs engraved in grey-green butesite. The best-known altar Q shows Yax K'uk Mo' handing over the Baton to Yax Pac, the sixteenth and last great emperor of Copán.
Waves of enigmatic desolation sweeping through the classic Mayan towns end in this secluded Chiapas, Mexico. It then headed eastwards to the center of Mayan civilisation in the Petén area of present-day, contemporary Guatemala and southwards to Honduras. Toniná publishes the very last Classic Maya-Dateâ "909â".
Oddly enough, nowhere in the Mayan icons does a recording of the imminent demise appear.