Maya civilization has been the greatest but at the same time the most undiscovered one up to now. Nobody knows and can prove firmly the exact reason why the Mayans disappeared, whether a natural disaster or epidemics caused their ruination or social processes, or invasions lead to their dramatic end. No one could give an exact explanation about all this. That’s why we have only one option – to admire their ancient culture and the sites they left to the future generations.
So, who were the Mayans? Where did they live?
They established their own country around the first century of the new era on the territories of today’s Southern Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Belize and El Salvador. Their country consisted of their splendid towns built in inaccessible lands surrounded by jungles, filled with poisonous snakes, mosquitoes, scorpions where wet hot weather was a great burden. But they managed to settle down and live there for centuries and build up a civilization which has always dazzled with its achievements.
More than 100 settlements of that kind as well as architectural complexes and monuments are known to us. Maya towns have a typical architectural style that had the following distinctive features. The settlements had plantigrade pyramids on whose tops the Mayans built their not so big temples and altars. They built their palaces for priests, shamans and aristocracy around them. The grounds for ritual games with balls and observatories were placed nearby. Maya people are also known for their “stelae” which are portraits and very detailed stone sculptures. All of them were erected due to the Mayans’ excessive knowledge in mathematics and astronomy and their architecture was a blend between sculpture and painting.
Nowadays we are witnesses of the Maya culture owing to the excavated and explored Maya cultural and religious sites that were the most important city-states and centres of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization. For instance, Mexico is well known for the well preserved Palenque, Chichen Itza, Teotihuacan and Xochicalco while Guatemala has its Tikal, Belize is proud of Xunantunich and Copán is situated in Honduras close to the border with Guatemala.