The Maya civilization known for its enigmatic nature, was one of the great Pre-Colombian civilizations. The civilization was extending throughout the northern Central American region, including the present-day nations of Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, southern Mexico and western Honduras. Most Mayan city states reached their peak of urbanism and large-scale construction during the Classic period (250–900 AD). In almost every important Maya city, Mayan had built some incredible temples. During later centuries the cities were eventually abandoned leaving only the Mayan temples.
the reason behind building these monuments are still unknown. Possible reasons for their downfall could be soil exhaustion, water loss and erosion Catastrophes such as earthquakes, diseases and invasions by other surrounding people and cultures also could be some probable reasons.
10 Most Beautiful Ancient Mayan Temples:
Lamanai was once a considerably large sized Maya city, located in northern Belize. Yet the ancient ruins are not entirely uncovered. There has been undergoing some archaeological work. It has concentrated on the investigation and restoration of the larger structures. The highest Mayan temple is 33 meter high. It is one of the few Mayan city that retains there original name because it was still occupied with Mayans when Spanish had arrived. Lamani means in Maya “Submerged Crocodile”.
Coba was a large ancient Maya city in Mexico. It was home to about 50,000 inhabitants at its peak. Between 500 and 900 AD, most of its monuments were constructed. Until at least the 14th century perhaps as late as the arrival of the Spanish, new temples were built and old ones kept in repair. Several large temple pyramids, the tallest, the Nohoch Mul pyramid is about 42 meters (138 ft) high are situated here. Only a little part of the site has been cleared from the jungle and restored by archaeologists. Coba was abandoned around 1550 AD.
Caracol is one of the important Maya temples in Belize. Siting high on the Vaca Plateau, 500 meters (1650 ft) above sea level, it was once one of the largest ancient Maya cities, covering some 168 square kilometers (65 mi²). The population of the city was twice than the population of now. At its peak around 650 AD, it had an estimated population of about 150,000 in the city. The tallest pyramid in Caracol is Canaa (Sky Place). 43 meters (143 ft) height makes it is the tallest man-made structure in all of Belize.
Copán was a relatively small Mayan city well-known for its extraordinary series of portrait stelae. It is situated in western Honduras. The sculptured and stelae decorations of the buildings of Copán are considered some of the very excellent surviving ancient Mesoamerica art. Some of the stone’s evidence tells us that the city was built in the 9th century BC.
By 5th century the city had been flourished at its peak with a citizen of 20,000. It is now one of the most important Maya sites for its antiquity and uniqueness. There are no evident reasons why the city was abandoned after a few centuries later. The ancient Mayan temple now known as Temple 16, rising 30 meters (100 ft) above the city’s Great Plaza is the highest point in Copán.
Tulum is located on the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico. Tulum was built around 1200 AD when the Mayan civilization is her way to decline. It was once served as the major port of the Mayan city of Coba. Though it lacks antiquity and elegance than other Mayan cities, it is important for its intactness. The tropical beach backdrop however makes this a wonderful Maya site which is a must see for tourist.
Hidden inside the jungles of the Mexican state of Campeche, Calakmul is one of the largest Mayan cities. The city was unveiled with over 6,500 ancient structures identified, contributing a great deal of historic knowledge to the modern human about Mayan civilization. The 55 meter (180 foot) high pyramid of Calakmul is by far the largest structure at the site. The size of the pyramid at Calakmul was increased by building upon an older existing temple to reach its current size like many other ancient Mayan temple.
Located on the western edge of Mexico, Palenque is a famous archaeological site that was the Maya empire. It is now on the present state of Chiapas. Palenque is considerably much smaller than some of it Mayan neighbor cities, but it is much more important because it contains some of the finest architecture and sculptures the Maya ever produced. Along with the Temple of Inscriptions, most structures in Palenque date from about 600 AD to 800 AD. The temple of inscription is the only Mesoamerican pyramid built as a funerary memorial.
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Uxmal is one of the best preserved Pre-Columbian Mayan temples in Mexico. In Mayan language Uxmal means built three times. The most identifiable and largest structure of Uxmal is the Pyramid of the Magician. It is about 115 feet high. The temple is unique in nature because the surfaces of the temple pyramid are oval not like the rectangular or square surfaces of other Mayan pyramids. Another important thing about this pyramid is that it had been built in five phases, beginning from the sixth century continuing periodically through the 10th century.
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Tikal is probably the most breathtaking of all the Mayan temples. It is located in the lowland rainforest of northern Guatemala. Discovered buildings are scattered around the area while many more ruined buildings are still hidden by the jungle. Tikal was the largest Mayan city with an estimated population between 100,000 and 200,000 inhabitants between 200 and 900 AD.
Six very large temple pyramids are discovered yet. The largest one named Temple-pyramid IV, is about 72 meters (230 feet) high and was probably finished around 720 AD. On the top of one of these ancient Mayan temples will offer you a great experience with beautiful panoramic views from above the tree tops.
Also Read: Top 10 most ancient temples around the world
1. Chichen Itza
El Castillo is the Spanish nickname of one of the most spectacular Mayan temples. It was the most important that archaeological site of Chichen Itza. It was built around 9th to 12th centuries AC. The temple’s design has special astronomical significant. The pyramid has a stairway with 91 steps in each face of it, which together with the shared step at the top; add up to 365, the number of days in a year. El Castillo is no longer allowed for climbing after a woman fell to her death in 2006.