Ancient Mayan Pyramids Facts



A typical Mayan pyramid was a series of stepped platforms with a small temple built on top. The temple roof was often adorned with a highly embellished structure called a "roof-comb," decorated with sacred images in stucco relief. Steep stairways lined the sides of the pyramid where the priests would ascend to conduct ceremonies.

Ancient Mayan Pyramids Facts-Structure

These staircases lead from ground level to the temple. The number of staircases that the pyramids had varied, but there were typically two or four. Many times there would be a platform connecting the steps somewhere near the middle of the pyramid so that the priest-king could stop and do a part of his ritual before continuing to the top( Stierlin 98).

The largest pyramid build by Mayans is situated in Uxmal, Yucatan, Mexico. This place was used as a teaching and discussion session for intellectuals like astronomers, mathematicians, scholars and priests. This great pyramid is known as the 'pyramid of the magician', owing to its amazing construction that is aligned with planets that were discovered at that time.

Ancient Mayan Pyramids Facts-Material

Maya pyramids were made of limestone. These hard-to-climb buildings had temples on top. Mayan V.I.P.s (like priests and rulers) were buried under these temples, basically right inside the pyramids. The first large pyramid built by the Mayans was made between 600 B.C. and 400 B.C.

Ceremonial buildings began to appear in about 100 B.C., with the 650-square-foot Pyramid of the Sun standing 210 feet high and made of adobe mud and stone. Its temple constructed of wood at the summit of the edifice.

Ancient Mayan Pyramids Facts-Famous Pyramids

The massive Kukulcan pyramid called 'El Castillo' - the castle - is roughly at the center of Chichen Itza. Climbing it is quite a challenge and those who make it are rewarded with a spectacular view of the city and surrounding country side. A trip inside the pyramid is quite the opposite. The dark, unbearably humid corridors and chambers are too much for some people.

The Mayan were well known to archaeologists to build structures on top one another, and in the 1920's and 1930's during a restoration they dug into the northside of the pyramid to discover an older structures staircase. They followed the tunnel upwards and were delighted to find a buried chamber possessing a pristine Red Jaguar throne and a Chac Mool statue.

Chichén Itzá, arguably the most impressive Maya site on the Yucatán peninsula, lies about three hours from Playa del Carmen. Its famous pyramid offers a challenging climb and a breathtaking view over the jungle. This ruined city has several hundred buildings, of which about 30 have been fully restored.

The best known Latin American pyramids include the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon at Teotihuacán in central Mexico, the Castillo at Chichén Itzá in the Yucatan, the Great Pyramid in the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, the Pyramid at Cholula and the Inca's great temple at Cuzco in Peru.

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