World ? Caribbean & Central America ? Mexico

Mexico: The Best Ancient Sites

  • Teotihuacȥn: So close to Mexico City, yet centuries away. You can feel the majesty of the past in a stroll down the pyramid-lined Avenue of the Dead, from the Pyramid of the Sun to the Pyramid of the Moon. Imagine what a fabulous place this must have been when the walls were stuccoed and painted brilliant colors.

  • Monte Albȥn: A grand ceremonial city built on a mountaintop overlooking the valley of Oaxaca, Monte Albȥn offers the visitor panoramic vistas; a fascinating view of a society in transition, reflected in the contrasting methods of pyramid construction; and intriguing details in ornamentation.

  • Palenque: Like the pharaohs of Egypt, the rulers of Palenque built tombs deep within their pyramids. Imagine the magnificent ceremony in A.D. 683 when King Pacal was entombed in his magnificent burial chamber, which lay unspoiled until its discovery in 1952.

  • Ek Balam: Archaeologists at this site have made the most astonishing discoveries of the decade. Ek Balam's main pyramid is taller than Chichȳn Itzȥ's, and it holds a sacred doorway bordered with elaborate stucco figures of priests and kings and rich iconography.

  • Uxmal: No matter how many times you see Uxmal, the splendor of its stone carvings is awe-inspiring. A stone rattlesnake undulates across the facade of the Nunnery complex, and 103 masks of the rain god Chaac project out from the Governor's Palace.

  • Chichȳn Itzȥ: Stand beside the giant serpent head at the foot of El Castillo pyramid and marvel at the architects and astronomers who positioned the building so precisely that shadow and sunlight form a serpent's body slithering from the peak to the earth at each equinox (Mar 21 and Sept 21).

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