Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Mexico And Its Well Renowned Ancient Mayan Temples

By Frank D. Gardner

Before the arrival of the European conquerors, the Mayan civilization was discovered to be one of the most sophisticated cultures that ever existed in the Western Hemisphere.

During the peak of the ancient Maya civilization from 300 to 900 AD it was composed of over 40 cities that have reached the borders of Honduras, Guatemala, Belize and Mexico.

The ancient ruins of the Mayans were mainly discovered in Tabasco, the Yucatan Peninsula and Chiapas Mexico. There are actually plenty of ancient sites that have been discovered and excavated in Mexico and there were several that have overgrown and yet to be uncovered.

Chichen Itza Magnificent Mayan Temple Pyramids

Chichen Itza is one of the most famous Mayan archeological sites. A few of the most visited ancient temples here are the El Caracol, El Castillo, Ossario and the Templo de los Guerreros or the Temple of the Warriors.

Also known as the Temple of Kulkucan, the El Castillo has 365 steps and each of its steps represents each day of the year. Each of the four sides of this pyramid has 91 steps and the top platform is the 365th step.

The Temple of the Warriors is one of Chichen Itza's most imposing structures which is recognized as a late classic Maya structure. This structure is enormous and it can accommodate a large number of people, making it suitable for large gatherings. This structure has four platforms with round and square columns on its west and south sides.

El Caracol literally means snail or winding staircase; this unique pre-Columbian Maya structure functioned as an observatory tower in Chichen Itza.

Another stepped pyramid structure of Chichen Itza is the Ossario which is a lot like the El Castillo however smaller in size. It was Edward H. Thompson who excavated this temple in the late part of the 1800's. He was also the one who named this structure the Temple of the High Priest because he has found some precious artifacts like jade beads and skeletons.

The Mayan Temples Of Palenque

Palenque is an important city in Mexico as it is a Mayan archaeological site. This area includes many of the most recognized ancient structures such as the Temple of the Inscriptions, The Palace, Observation Tower, Temple of the Cross, Temple of the Sun, Temple of The Skull, and Temple of the Count and Temple XIII.

In Palenque, the most prominent ancient Maya structure is the Temple of the Inscription. It has a height of 66 feet. On its roof, there was once a roof comb and the temple has 5 entrance doors. The four piers seen in the middle of the temple are deemed the remains of the stuck figures which could have ended up being there. It was in the Temple of the Cross that the great king K'inich Kan B'alam's complete records of life and death were found.

The Temple of the Skull is also called Temple XII and it is positioned right beside Temple XIII. Both the temples were created on the top of a huge platform and each building features a stairway going to the top of the temples. The top structures were built on existing buildings, according to an archaeologist.

The Mayan Temples In Tulum

There are two significant temples in Tulum and they are the El Castillo Pyramid and the Temple of the Descending God.

Tulum's most dominating ancient temple is the Pyramid El Castillo which is ideally located at the edge of the cliffs offering a beautiful view of the Caribbean Sea. There are 2 lanterns at the top of this temple, serving as a watchtower and lighthouse.

The small but significant structure in Tulum is known as the Temple of the Descending Gods. A bizarre stucco relief can be found on the western doorway of this temple; it appears to be an upside down winged creature, depicting a god diving from the sky. The age old structure was heavily designed with drawings of seashells, sun, snakes and rain.

Kabah Maya Structure

The Palace of the Masks or Codz Poop is the most well-known ancient Mayan structure in Kabah. This building is large and covered with masks of the Rain God, Chac.

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