- Advertisement -
72 F
Belize
Home About Belize Exploring The Mayan Temples of Belize

Exploring The Mayan Temples of Belize

- Advertisement -

Belize is part of the southern Mayan lowlands of the Mesoamerican culture area. The Maya civilization spread across Belize around 1500 BC and flourished until about 900 AD. The dominant Mayan population existed in Caracol, which was an urban political center that had up to 140,000 people.

Belize is estimated to have thousands of Maya ruins with few found and excavated by scientists but most are still undiscovered. Because of this, Belize is an ideal spot for archaeologists and tourists alike.

Here are some facts about the most popular Maya ruins in Belize.

Cerros

Cerros is located on the sea coast across from Corozal Town in the Bay of Chetumal. It’s name translates to “the hills”. During the late Pre-classic period, Cerros was a key commercial center for Maya traders arriving by canoe through Chetumal’s Bay, and from up the Rio Hondo and New River.

Lamanai

Lamanai means “submerged crocodile” in Maya. This ruin is located in the Orange Walk district on the bank of the New River Lagoon. It is the largest Mayan site in Belize. The main attraction in Lamanai is the mask of a Maya leader emerging from a crocodile headdress. Lamanai was occupied for over 3,000 years until the Europeans took over.

El Pilar

El Pilar, Spanish for the “watering basin”, is a Mayan archaeological reserve near the Belize-Guatemala border. It got its name for the abundance of water in the area, which is a rare trait in most Mayan sites. During its peak, El Pilar was more than three times the size of the Xunantunich Maya ruin.

Altun Ha

Altun Ha translates to “water of the rock”. This is the closest ruin to Belize City and was a major ceremonial center for the Mayas. During its peak, this ruin served as a central trading link between the Caribbean coast and Mayan centers inland during the Maya Classic Period. The famous Jade Head, that now sits in the  Museum of Belize, was found at Altun Ha.

Cahal Pech

The Cahal Pech Maya ruin stands apart from all other Mayan sites in Belize, because it sits in the midst of a bustling town. Cahal Pech translates to “place of ticks”. This site is in San Ignacio Town and was once a ceremonial center with temples, palaces and a ball court. Visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of San Ignacio and the Belize River Valley.

Xunantunich

Xunantunich means “maiden of the rock”, and was a major ceremonial site that was built on a limestone ridge during the classic period. This Mayan site has 6 plazas with over 25 temples. Xunantunich sits atop a hill which overlooks the Mopan River. It is 8 miles west of San Ignacio Town and is directly across the village of San Jose Succotz.

Caracol

Caracol is one of the most popular sites in Belize with a rich history as a rival power to Guatemala’s Tikal ruin. Caracol translates to “snail” but its name refers more to the spiral shape of the snail’s shell which resembles the winding road that leads to the ruins. Caracol is known for its elaborate city planning as it spans an impressive 65 square miles. Caracol is located deep in the Chiquibul Forest Reserve in the Mayan Mountains in Cayo.

Nim Li Punit

Nim Li Punit means “big hat” and got its name from a carving on the longest stelae in the site. There are 26 stelaes in the site. The longest stelae has a carving of a figure wearing a large headdress and stands at about 30 feet tall, making it one of the longest in the Maya world. Nim Li Punit is located near Indian Creek Village in the Toledo District.

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Stay Connected

7,120FansLike

Must Read

Update on Plans for the Reopening of Schools in Belize

As we prepare for a second wave of COVID-19 across the country of Belize, parents can't help but wonder, "what will happen...
- Advertisement -

Latest News

What To Do If You’re In a Car Wreck While Traveling In Belize

Being involved in any kind of car accident or collision can be extremely stressful. Whether the collision is a...

The mesmerizing tale of how Belize got its name

With numerous discussions circulating about the Battle of St. George’s Caye and our first settlers, as a Belizean, have you ever wondered how the...

Belize Flag Standardization

The Official Flag of Belize is in the final stages of being standardized.  At an event held at the Marion Jones Sporting Complex in...

Related News

What To Do If You’re In a Car Wreck While Traveling In Belize

Being involved in any kind of car accident or collision can be extremely stressful. Whether the collision is a...

Sweet Times for Stig Da Artist

Belizean singjay Stig Da Artist has high hopes that Girls Dem Suga , his collaboration with Beenie Man, will be a big hit. “Well, it's a good feeling...

Exploring Southern Belize

Belize is every vacationer’s dream and paradise to those that live here. It has a multitude of activities to please the most adventurous to...

Sovereign’s Day/Commonwealth Day

Sovereign Day, formerly known as Commonwealth Day, is a public holiday in Belize. It celebrates the organisation of 54 independent or sovereign states under...

Remembering a Musical Icon, Ms. Leela Vernon

Belize's Bruk Down Queen, Ms. Leela Vernon passed away on Sunday, February 19, 2017. Ms. Leela, as she was affectionately known among Belizeans, had been...
- Advertisement -