It is actually quite difficult to pinpoint all of the most important sites of the Mayan civilization due to the sheer number that existed. The sites are spread over a vast area of Central America and cover such a long time span that most experts only refer to cities that existed within the classical period, 250AD to 900AD since this is when they were seen as being at their most developed.
The Mayan civilization covered parts of what are now Mexico, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala and consisted of a series of city led states that shared some common features. This tended to be things such as language and cultural identities as well as religion which played such an important role in their lives.
Perhaps the most famous site is Chichen Itza which is in the state of Yucatan in Mexico and is recognized by UNESCO as being a world heritage site. It is one of the later cities to have been developed as it did not appear until late in the classical period around 600AD but it is now amongst the most visited sites of its kind within the area.
The city of Cancuen in Guatemala was another major city which reached its pinnacle in around 700AD. It really dominated trade in the area due to its location on the Rio Pasion which in turn meant it became extremely wealthy.
Yaxha, again located in Guatemala, is a site that has over 500 buildings that can be explored and it is seen by experts as having been a ceremonial center. This is due to the number of ritual based buildings and ceremonial causeways that exist with there being 9 pyramid temples just in this one city.
While these are only three of the many sites that made up the Mayan civilization it should be added that many others would have been seen as the ceremonial and trade centers for the particular area that they were located in. Many have links to the earliest pre-classical era which stretches back as far as 2000BC but as was said earlier it was not until after 250AD that they really started to dominate the landscape.
The Mayan civilization covers thousands of sites over an area of around 150,000 square miles. They tend to be open to visitors but do be aware that some are more difficult to get to due to being in the middle of the forest. Should you manage to get there you shall be amazed at the sights you see.
Learn about the many Mayan gods that were once worshipped and why the Mayans created sacred corn gods. If you want to be up to date on the most recent science articles and learn what innovations are been made in science and technology then check out the latest science news journals.
- Mayan Civilization (socyberty.com)
- Collapse of Mayan civilization was due to environmental damage (news.bioscholar.com)
- Maya kind of Mexico (firstchoice.co.uk)
- Genetic Traits of Indigenous Mayan People (brighthub.com)
- Mayan magic alive in Mexico (thestar.com)