There are hundreds of Mayan ruins throughout Mexico , Belize , Honduras and Guatemala , but the Yucatan Peninsula (where Tulum , Playa del Carmen and Cancun are) have some of the most impressive ruins.
They each were built for religious purposes and for the gods. However, they had their differences as well. The first type of pyramid had a temple on the top and was meant to be climbed by the priests to make sacrifices to the gods. The most important religious ceremonies were held at the top of these pyramids.
Maya architects used readily available local materials, such as limestone at Palenque and Tikal, sandstone at Quiriguá, and volcanic tuff at Copan. Blocks were cut using stone tools only. Burnt-lime cement was used to create a form of concrete and was occasionally used as mortar, as was simple mud.
Blood was viewed as a potent source of nourishment for the Maya deities, and the sacrifice of a living creature was a powerful blood offering. By extension, the sacrifice of a human life was the ultimate offering of blood to the gods, and the most important Maya rituals culminated in human sacrifice .
4 Must – See Mayan Ruins in the Yucatan Peninsula. Ek Balam. Ek Balam is “new” to the list of must – see ancient Maya ruins to explore, archeologists having only begun restoration in 1997. Chichen Itza. Chichen Itza is perhaps the most popular of Mayan temples. Coba. Tulum.
In the ninth century A.D., the Maya abandoned the great city of Tikal after hundreds of years of prosperity and expansion. Commonly cited explanations for Tikal’s downfall center on a confluence of overpopulation, overexploitation of the surrounding landscape and a spate of withering megadroughts.
Called Aguada Fénix, this previously unknown Maya site in Tabasco, Mexico, was built between 1,000 BC and 800 BC. The huge elevated platform stands 10 to 15 meters above the surrounding area with nine causeways extending from the platform.
Scholars have suggested a number of potential reasons for the downfall of Maya civilization in the southern lowlands, including overpopulation, environmental degradation, warfare, shifting trade routes and extended drought. It’s likely that a complex combination of factors was behind the collapse.
In the 1930s, however, a group of excavators began exploring and discovered that another pyramid- temple was nestled within the larger pyramid. Further excavations revealed that it had nine platforms, a single stairway, and a temple containing human remains, a jade-studded jaguar throne, and a so-called Chac Mool.
The Pyramid of Djoser
Maya stelae were worked with stone chisels and probably with wooden mallets. Hammerstones were fashioned from flint and basalt and were used for shaping the softer rocks used to make stelae, while fine detail was completed with smaller chisels.
The Great Pyramid of Cholula