Mexico

 
 
 
 
 
 

For information and a larger map of the country, click on the map above.

 

Sites
 
Teotihuacan
 
Palenque
 
Chichen Itza
 
Uxmal
 
Kabah
 
Monte Alban
 
Mitla
 
Izapa
 
Copalita
 
Chacchoben

Tulum

Dzibilchaltun

 
Puerto Vallarta
Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe
 
 
Click to see location of Maya Cities

Location of Sites
 
 
  Mexico

 
Teotihuacán 
 
Located 30 miles northeast of Mexico City in the Valley of Mexico, Teotihuacán is one of Mexico’s most popular archaeological sites and contains some of the largest pyramidal structures built in the pre-Columbian Americas. 
 
Dating back to 100BC Teotihuacán was to become the cultural epicentre of ancient Mesoamerica. Yet very little is known about its origins, its people and where they came from or what language they spoke for although the civilization left many architectural ruins, no trace has yet been found of a writing system. READ MORE

 


 

Palenque

Located in southern Mexico, the ruins of the Mayan city of Palenque date back to 100 BC although its name is recently modern coming from the village located close by. The ancient name of the city was Lakam Ha, meaning "Big Water", as it has numerous springs and wide cascades. Palenque flourished in the 7th century with its decline and fall occurring around 800 AD. After its decline it was covered by the jungle but on going excavation and restoration work has made it one of the most famous archaeological sites in Mexico.  READ MORE

 

 


 

Chichen Itza

Although there was a city in this location as far back as 600 AD Chichen Itza really developed in the 9th century when the cities of Palenque and Tikel were deserted by the Mayas who moved north into the eastern part of Yucatán. It was, however, in the 10th century that the city was to become one of the largest Mayan cities that was to dominate the area from central Yucatán to the north coast and down the east and west coasts of the peninsula. It was to retain its dominance for 200 years.  READ MORE

 

 


 

Uxmal

 

Together with Tikal and Chichen Itza, Uxmal most represents Maya Architecture at its best. The name is thought to mean “thrice built” although it has also been suggested that it derives from the word Uchmal, which refers to the future. 

 
Although a great deal of work has been carried out at Uxmal - and in fact is still being carried out – not a lot is known about the city. It is believed that it was founded around 500 AD and that most of its development occurred between 700 - 1000 AD when it became a thriving city and a religious centre with great ceremonial significance. READ MORE

 


 

Kabah

 

Located 18 km south Uxmal and connected to it by a raised pedestrian causeway 5 meters wide with monumental arches at each end is the city of Kabah: The connection between the two sites indicating its importance. It is thought that in early times Kabah and Uxmal were adversaries, but that they eventually became allies with Kabah becoming the second city in importance next to Uxmal.  READ MORE

 

 

 


 

Monte Alban

 

Established in 500 BC in the Valley of Oaxaca by the Zapotecs, Monte Alban was one of the first cities in the Americas and was to become the main centre for government and to have a significant effect on the development of the arts and science. It reached its height in the years 350 – 550 AD during the classical period. Around 800 AD the city began to lose its power to the Mixtecs and cities such as Mitla and by 850 AD the soil around Monte Alban was exhausted and the city virtually deserted. In the years that followed it became a sacred site to the Mixtecs who would visit it but did not occupy it, although considering it a sacred site they would bury their dead there and a number of tombs have been found and exhibits of these can be seen in the on-site museum. READ MORE

 

 

 

 

 


 

Mitla

 

 

The archaeological site of Mitla is located in the centre of the town which grew up around the ruins. Close by is the Church of San Paublo which was constructed by the Spanish in the 17th century using much of the material taken from site.

 
Mitla dates back to about 900 BC while the remains which are visible today date from about 200 AD to 900 AD when the Zapotecs controlled the area. In 1000 AD the Mixtecs took control of the site until 1200 AD when the Zapotecs regained it.  READ MORE
 
 
 
 

 



 

Izapa

 

Located in the State of Chiapas close to the Guatemala border below the Tacaná Volcano, the site is privately owned and is leased to the National Institute of History and Anthropology, thus enabling visitor free access to the ruins. 

 
Although it covers an area of some 200 hectares and consists of 13 plazas, most of the site has still to be uncovered and renovated, which gives it a mistaken impression of its being of minor importance. READ MORE

 

 



 

Copalita

 

Copalita is located on a cliff overlooking the ocean, ten miles from Huatulco. Its name comes from the large amount of copal found in the area. Copal is a tree resin used as incense during ceremonies, a common substance found across Mesoamerican cultures.

 
The earliest remains of the site date back 2,500 years from the time of the Zapotec. In fact, Copalita was the first Zapotec archaeological site found in the Huatulco area, and the only site ever built by the ocean on Mexico’s Pacific coast. READ MORE
 

 

 



 

Chacchoben

 

Chacchoben is located just south of the Riviera Maya, and within an hour’s drive from Costa Maya. Its name means "The Place of Red Corn," which is derived from a nearby village, its original name is not known. 

 
Evidence suggests that Chacchoben was a settlement as far back as 1000 BC although it is believed that the site was abandoned and reoccupied a number of times and it is known that most of the structure at the site were modified or restored a number of times most notably from 300 – 360 AD although the buildings in the main groups which can be seen today date from 700 AD.  READ MORE
 
 

 

 




Tulum

Located along the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula, Tulum was one of the last cities built and inhabited by the Maya. A contemporary to Chichen Itza, but when that city fell, Tulum consolidated its position, paving the way for its greatest period of expansion. It was probably known by the name of Zama, which means City of Dawn due to it facing east towards the rising sun.  READ MORE

 

 


 

Dzibilchaltun

Located close to the northern coast of the Yucatan, Dzibilchaltun was one of the oldest and most populated settlements in the Yucatan.

Dzibilchaltun means “place where there is writing on flat stone”.  The population maintained themselves with a maritime and coastal economy in addition to agriculture. It is believed that the site was inhabited from around 300BC until the Spanish conquest. The site was at its height during the Late Classic period (600-900 AD) when it had a population of 20,000 inhabitants (although this has been put as high as 40,000) and covered an area of approximately 9 sq kms.  READ MORE

 


 

Puerto Vallarta


Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Located near the main square in Puerto Vallarta, the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe consists of a number of diverse architectural styles with neoclassical in the main building and the renaissance-styled towers. 

Although the church dates from 1903, when the foundations were laid, a small chapel dedicated to the Virgin Guadalupe existed on the site at that time.  READ MORE

 
 


 

 

All  Photographs Copyright: Ron Gatepain

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