Uaxactun is located north of Peten, Guatemala. It is an important Mayan city found twelve miles north of another important Mayan site known as Tikal. Uaxactun means “eight stones” in Mayan language. Several groups of structures made up the site which is occupied in the middle of 500 BC. The site was abandoned in 889 AD. The finest art work in Uaxactun can be found here.
Uaxactun served as a ceremonial center having a modest size and is considered vital in Mayan archeology owing to the thorough excavations made there by archaeologists of the Carnegie Institution of Washington.
There are a lot of structures built in the site which served as ceremonial buildings which were erected prior to the beginning of the Classic as well as end of Late Pre Classic Period
Structures E-1, E-2, and E-3 are the most notable series of structures found in the site and they are aligned north-south. Moreover, they also from an astronomical observatory which are found initially in the Mayan world. There are also other Mayan structures in this area which were utilized for astronomical purposes. One structure called Structure E-VII-B has stairways which are decorated by large stucco sculptures and masks which depicts the individual rulers and the Witz monster. The Witz monster is believed to be the guardian of the sacred mountain by the same name.
The site was rediscovered in 1916 and deemed to be the oldest of the Mayan cities. Archeologists believed that the site was possibly founded around 3000 years ago and this is where the Mayas perfected their system of writing and invented their calendar. They have very knowledgeable Mayan mathematicians, astronomers and architects.
The large temples in this site offer amazing views of the surrounding countryside. Excellent polychrome clay vases were produced here and they are the most beautiful in the Mayan world. Approximately 600 people are living near the ruins. The children in the community create beautiful dolls which are made of corn husks and tusa.
There are many things to discover about Uaxactun. And certainly it has more to offer. Visiting this site will give you the opportunity to learn more about the site’s history, climb the main temple and enjoy a scenic view of the countryside or explore Temple E-VII which is the oldest building in Peten. You will also get the chance to visit Flores Island which sits in the middle of Lake Peten Itza and wander through its cobblestone streets. You can also go boating to different parts of the lake such as Petencito Island and large Actun Can Caves.
There is much wildlife to see freely roaming in Petencito Island as this is an eco-project as well as zoo indigenous to the island. While in Actun Can Caves, you will see rock formations that are very interesting most particularly one that look like a marimba which is the national instrument of Guatemala.
Uaxactun is highly recommended not only for adventure seekers but for those who want to explore ancient Mayan cities and learn its history and civilization.
See our pictures of Uaxactun from our travel adventures. You will see here their beautiful clay vases which travelers buy as souvenirs. You can walk trails, hike or cycle. It is simply a great place to explore and discover more about the Mayans, their history and culture.
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