Travel Destinations Discover 10 Most Beautiful Ancient Mayan Temples

Discover 10 Most Beautiful Ancient Mayan Temples

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The Mayan which stretches across Central America is one of the largest civilization in pre-Columbia. This civilization was established about 3,000 years ago and now it represents the major portion of Guatemala, Honduras, Belize and Mexico. The peak of urbanism and splendid architecture was seen in the years 250-900 AD in the Mayan calendar. As per ancient scholars, Mayans have highly skilled artisans and they have constructed many ancient and historic monuments in various locations of the civilizations which can be now seen in many beautiful ancient temples.

Mostly the skilled labours of Mayan used mathematical and celestial observations to fine-tune a calendar of Olmec and create monuments for observing and remembering the transitions of the moon, the sun and venus. Today, Chichen Itza, Lamanai, Tikal are a majestic example of the architectural beauty of Mayan Civilization.

Here we have listed some of the most beautiful ancient Mayan temples which are truly a magnificent sight to behold for every history buff and travel enthusiasts…

Chichen Itza – Mexico

Chichen Itza was one of the largest Mayan pre-Columbian cities inhabited between 400 AD to 1200 AD. This most famous Mayan site is settled in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. This historical and ancient ruins served between 750 and 1200 A.D as a federal and commercial hub for the Mayan civilization.

Chichen Itza, Mexico, Via: wonderopolis.org

As these remarkable buildings show the exceptional use of architectural design by the Mayan civilization, the extensive scientific knowledge, as well as its keen understanding of creativity. These ruins are one of the most prominent attractions of Mexico and can be easily accessible from nearby towns of Cancun.

Also Read: Chichen Itza – Explore the Most Famous Mayan Ruins of Mexico

Tikal – Guatemala

Tikal is probably the most remarkable all Mayan sites after Chichen Itza which is located in northern Guatemala’s lowland rainforest. Many buildings which are now are spread across the area while the jungles still hide many other ruined buildings. Between the approx 200 and 900 AD, Tikal was the largest Mayan city with an estimated population of 100,000 to 200,000.

Tikal- Guatemala
Tikal- Guatemala, Via: twowanderingsoles.com

Tikal has 6 very large pyramids at the temple. The largest, Temple-pyramid IV, is about 72 meters high and was completed around AD 720. Stepping up to one of these old Mayan temples gives you a wonderful experience with a lovely view from above the tops of the tree.

Calakmul – Campeche

Another popular Mayan site, hidden inside the jungles of Campeche, is one of the largest Mayan cities identified with some 6,500 ancient structures. It is located within a protected UNESCO Biosphere and a UNESCO site itself. These Mayan temple ruins are nearly 180 feet in height and are hidden inside the jungles of the Mexican state of Campeche.

Calakmul -Campeche
Calakmul Campeche, Via: descubrecalakmul.mx

Like many other ancient Mayan temples the size of the pyramid at Calakmul was increased by building upon an older existing temple to reach its current size. Located in Campeche, Mexico, Calakmul is only 22 miles from the Guatemala border. The Calakmul Ruins is a unique monument showcasing cultural and environmental importance.

Uxmal

The name of this Mayan Temple Uxmal depicts which is constructed three times. It is one of the most well-preserved Mayan sites in Mexico. The Pyramid of the Magician is the tallest and most visible structure at 115 feet. Unlike the rectangular or square layers of other Mayan pyramids, the temple pyramid layers are oval.

The Pyramid of Magician
The Pyramid of Magician, Uxmal, Via: britannica.com

The pyramid seems to have been constructed in five stages, which progressed regularly from the 6th century through the 10th century. This Mesoamerican step-pyramid is also known many names such as the Pyramid of the Soothsayer, Pyramid of the Dwarf and Casa el Adivino.

Palenque

The archaeological site of Palenque is situated in the present-day state of Chiapas, Mexico which was on the western edge of the Mayan empire. It is renowned as the Mayan temple of the sun is a historical temple that dates back to 226 BC to 799 AD. Palenque is much smaller than some of the nearby Mayan cities, but it contains some of the finest architecture and sculptures the Mayan has ever produced.

Palenque Ruins in Chiapas
Palenque Ruins in Chiapas, Via: journeywonders.com

In Palenque, most of these buildings date around 600 AD to 800 AD, including the Inscriptions temple, the only Mesoamerican pyramid that has been constructed as a ceremonial monument.

Also Read: Teotihuacan: The Ancient City of Gods & Pyramids in Mexico

Caracol – Belize

Caracol is Belize’s largest Mayan site which is situated around 500m above sea level on the Vaca Plateau. Once upon a time, it was one of the largest ancient Mayan cities, covering some 168 km².

Caracol Belize
Caracol Belize, Via: eternalarrival.com

It had an estimated population of around 150,000 at its peak around 650 AD, more than twice as many people as Belize City has today. The largest pyramid in Caracol is Sky Place which is still the tallest man-made structure in Belize at 43 meters.

Rosalila Temple – Copan

The Mayan city of Copan was well-known for its remarkable series of portrait stelae. Some of the stone buildings and statues at Copán date back to the 9th century BC. One of it famous in western Honduras which is an amazingly well preserved Mayan temple which was found in very good condition during its excavation is Rosalila Temple.

Reconstructed Rosalila Temple of Copan at museum
Reconstructed Rosalila Temple of Copan at the museum, Via; flickr.com

According to archaeologists, they found the temple base up to the roof without any damage and it had covered with stucco decoration. One special thing about Rosalila is that it was not destroyed by the Mayans but was carefully buried under the soil. The stelae and architectural sculptures in Copan buildings are some of ancient Mesoamerica ‘s finest surviving art.

Lamanai – Belize

The city of Lamanai was once a major Mayan city located in the northern part of Belize. They are not fully discovered yet by the archaeologists and their major focus is on the excavation and renovation of larger buildings and High Temple.

Lamanai -Belize
Lamanai -Belize, Via: belizehub.com

Lamanai is one of the few Maya sites to maintain its traditional name, given that it was still occupied by the Maya during the arrival of Spanish. It is renowned for its exceptionally long steps and layers covering three millenary starting from the Early Preclassic Maya period followed by Spanish and British colonial periods to the 20th century.

Ixmoja Pyramid – Coba

Ixmoja or Nohoch Mul pyramid is the highlight at the Mayan Ruins of Coba. In the Maya language, Coba means water stirred by the wind. This ancient Mayan city is located in Quintana Roo in Mexico and this site is the focal point of many stone causeways of the ancient Mayan world. There are many large temple pyramids on this site and the tallest of them is known as Ixmoja Pyramid and it is around 79 feet in height.

Ixmoja Pyramid
Ixmoja Pyramid – Coba, Via: worldwanderista.com

It is believed that the base was built during the Early Classic Period (250 – 550 AD) and the temple’s top during the Late Post Classic Period. It houses many engravings and sculptures which document the ceremonial life and important events of the Mesoamerican civilization.

Xunantunich – Bele

The name – Xunantunich translates to the maiden of the rock or stone woman in Maya. It is historical gem of Mayan Civilization which is located on the Western Highway from across the river in the village, San Jose Succotz. This ancient Mayan site was founded more than 3,000 years ago and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Belize.

Xunantunich Mayan Ruins,
Xunantunich Mayan Ruins, Via: pinterest.co

Set on a natural ridge of calcareous, the site was designed during the Classic Period to serve elite nobles. Visitors can learn about this majestic city, once a luxury residence for Mayan elites, with an interactive museum on site.

Also Read: Ziggurat of Chogha Zanbil: A Magnificent Elamite Monument of Iran

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