Travelers who visit anywhere in Mexico or Central America will likely see the influences of the Mayan civilization. The Maya is an ancient Mesoamerican civilization that lived and thrived in the Central American region during the pre-Columbian America period from 1800 B.C. to 900 AD. The geographic range of their society expanded from the southern Mexican states of Chiapas and Tabasco to the Northern region of Central America to the countries of Guatemala and Belize. Known for its advances in art, language, mathematics, astronomy and architecture, the Mayan civilization is recognized for building several man-made monuments, some of which still stand to this day.
Temple of the Inscriptions
The Temple of the Inscriptions is a large pyramid built by the Mayan civilization. The temple is the final resting place of the sarcophagus of K'inich Janaab Pakal, one of the Mayan kings. The pyramid is a significant display of Mayan culture due to the fact that it is the only known pyramid built as a funeral monument in honor of a king. Built along the sculptural panels of the building are inscription tablets, with hieroglyphic text written into them. These tablets emphasize many of the Mayan beliefs that history repeats itself.
Chichen Itza was a large Mayan city located in present day Yakatan Peninsula; the ruins are now a federally protected archaeological site. Featured at Chichen Itza is the Pyramid of Kulkulcan, one of the most popular pyramids from the Mayan civilization. The Pyramid of Kulkulcan was built around 800 A.D. to honor the serpent god Kulkulcan. The design of the temple is a display of the Mayan knowledge of geography and astronomy. There are 365 steps of the pyramid which represent the number of days in a year. Twice a year, at the spring and fall equinoxes, the sun lines up perfectly on the northern stairways to project a light pattern that suggests a large serpent is crawling down the pyramid.
Copan Hieroglyphic Stairway
Copan Hieroglyphic Stairway is located in the ruins of Copan in west Honduras. This monument features proof of the largest known text in pre-Columbus America. The stairway is made up of 72 steps. Inscribed into the steps are hieroglyphics that tell of the Copan history, including information of its rulers, family lineages, Mayan rituals and mythology. The site is now a prominent protected archaeological site as linguists and historians use to the hieroglyphs to decipher the Mayan language.
Article Written By Baptist Johnson
Baptist Johnson was first published in 2000 when a poem he wrote won first prize in a local writing contest. He also writes and edits for Etched Press Society, a micro-publishing company based in Wilmington, N.C. Johnson has a Bachelor of Science in business administration from East Carolina University.