The Mayans, widely considered to be pre-Columbian America’s most brilliant civilization, thrived between approximately 250 and 900 A.D. They developed a calendar and writing system and built cities that functioned as hubs for the surrounding farming towns. The ceremonial center of Mayan cities featured plazas surrounded by tall temple pyramids and lower buildings called “palaces.” Religion played a central role in Mayan life, and altars were carved with significant dates, histories and elaborate human and divine figures. The Mayan civilization collapsed in the early 10th century, likely due to overpopulation and the resultant damage to the ecological balance.
Take a trip into the past. Deep in the Yucatan jungle lie the remains of ancient Mayan cities that will enrich your understanding of this interesting yet misunderstood culture. The Mayan ruins of the Yucatan are awe-inspiring and provide a deeper understanding of Mexican history.
Tulum Ruins: The greatest attraction at the Tulum Ruins is its location. Built on a bluff facing the rising sun, this ruin site is the only Maya settlement located on the beaches of the Caribbean. The views continue to be described as spectacular as millions of people visit this Maya ruin in the Riviera Maya.
Cobá Ruins: The Maya ruins at Cobá are unique in that only a few of its estimated 6,500 structures have been uncovered, but the ones that have been are graceful and impressive. Climbing the 120 stairs to the top of the Grand Pyramid at Cobá is well worth the effort. Standing here one can see over the jungle canopy for miles, unexcavated temple mounds peeking above the trees.
Ek Balam: The startling and amazingly well-preserved sculptures uncovered at Ek Balam are exciting to both newcomers and repeat visitors of Mayan sites. Dating from 100 BC to its height at 700-1,200 BC, it is unlike any other Mayan site. Ek Balam has a feel all its own.
Chichén Itzá: The name of the archaelogical site means "mouth of the well" and covers about 3 miles in area, built in the late Classic Period (800-1000 AD). Chichen Itza is a magical place, with the massive Pyramid of Kukulcan (El Castillo) as an elegant centerpiece. It is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and declared UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.