mayan ruins pyramidMayan Ruins extend from the Yucatan peninsula to El Salvador, covering 5 Latin American countries and an area far greater than the Aztec empire.

Long forgotten and shrouded in jungle, Mayan ruins are still being discovered today.

Around 2,000 BC the Mayas emerged from the Mexican Yucatan spreading a culture of advanced architecture and astronomy.

Believing themselves made from corn (maize), they created a pantheon of gods to govern the cycles of seed time and harvest.

With the beginnings of agriculture, the Mayas turned from hunting and gathering to constructing temples and highways, and building great cosmopolitan centers.

The classic Mayan period from 300 to 900 gave rise to Tikal, Copan, Coba, and Palenque with steep, stepped, platformed pyramids, arranged around elaborately designed courtyards. These ruins are the most elaborately built and best preserved of pre-Columbian structures.

Constructions of the late classic period find the introduction of ornate, carved, inlaid building stones.

By 900 all of the classic sites of the Southern Mayas had been abandoned; and monument building came to a halt.

Chichen Itza in the north, however, flourished for another 300 years, until its abandonment around 1200.

quetzalcoatl

At about the time of Chichen Itza’s demise, a militaristic alliance of several cities known as “Mayapan” became the dominate force in the Yucatan; building walled cities and subjugating large portions of the region. Their architecture consisted primarily of fortresses.

A rebellion led by Uxmal overthrew the Mayapan alliance around 1400. and destroyed their cities.

The Conquistadors’ arrival in 1516 found Tulum, on the Caribbean coast, to be the last remaining Mayan city.

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