Chiapas - 2005
The Grand Plaza
The Grand Plaza, seen from the Acropolis, at Bonampak

Upon entering the site, you see the Grand Plaza.  Temples XIII (Roman numeral “13”), XV (“15”), XVI (“16”), and XVII (“17”) enclose the Grand Plaza, with Stelae I and Ia being near the middle of the plaza.  Most of these temples are just a foundation.  Edifice XV (“15”) has some stelae under a thatched roof.  The energy feels calm and peaceful, very low key even on a sunny day.

According to the INAH Plaque accompanying the Grand Plaza, the Plaza is 1 of the most spacious in the area, measuring 90 by 110 yards.  Its location as the approach to the Acropolis provides the combined whole with a sense of monumentality.  Long low stepped platforms define the Grand Plaza to the east and west, whereas to the north Edifices XV (“15”) and XVI (“16”) define it.  All of the temples has their main stairway facing the Plaza, except Edifice XV which faces outward to the north in a straight line along the Frey Group[?].  The Mayans originally built the Plaza 1/3 shorter than it is now, and the north side across from the Acropolis had a broad flight of 3 stairs which connected it to another lower level plaza of unknown breadth.  Smaller previous temples are beneath Edifices XIII (“13”), XV (“15”), XVI (“16”), and XVIII (“18”), some of which were associated with that earlier plaza.  This indicates that the Mayans were constantly building Bonampak for more than 3 centuries.

Stela I, Edifices XV and XVI in the Grand Plaza