The Maya Lands
March 2009

After visiting Tikal we flew back to Guatemala City and took a bus to Copan in Honduras.  Along the way my throat started feeling sore.  By the time we got to the town, I felt really bad.  I felt so bad I missed the next day at the site.  I did feel good enough the 2nd day to visit and was able to see about half of the site.

Copan is my 2nd most favorite Mayan site, after Palenque.  I love the lyrical curves and flowing movement of the temples and stelae.  I especially love the Hieroglyphic Staircase.

According to the LONELY PLANET GUIDE to GUATEMALA, 2nd Edition, January 2004, ISBN 1-74059-293-X, pages 208-209, archaeologists have found ceramic evidence indicating that people have been living in the Copan valley since around 1400 B.C.  Archaeologists have found graves dating to around 900-600 B.C., showing marked Olmec influence.  In the 5th Century A.D., 1 royal family came to rule Copan led by King Mah K’ina Yax K’uk’ Mo’ (Mayan for “Great Sun Lord Quetzal Macaw”), who ruled from 426-435 A.D.  This dynasty ruled Copan throughout the Classic Period (250-900 A.D.).  Quirigua captured and beheaded Copan’s 13th ruler, Uaxaclahun Ubak K’awil (“18 Rabbit”) around 738 A.D.  Sometime around 900 A.D., the Mayans started abandoning Copan and by 1200 A.D., even the farmers had left.

The Hieroglyphic Staircase at Copan
Map of CopanTHEMAYALANDS-COPAN-Map-March2009.htmlshapeimage_4_link_0