Calakmul is a pre-Hispanic Mayan site located in the Mexican state of Campeche. This territory covers about 70 km2, is believed to have housed up to 50,000 people and is one of the most important archaeological areas of the Mayan culture.
History of Calakmul
Calakmul is located in the middle of the jungle, benefiting from hardly any human disturbance. In the past it was one of the most important and powerful cities, along with Palenque and Tikal. Before its discovery in the 20th century, this site remained lost in the middle of the forest since 900 AD. Another destination you could visit during your tour is the pre-Hispanic city of Teotihuacan.
Calakmul is one of the archaeological sites with the most stelae, with approximately 120. In case you don’t know what stelae are, we tell you: they are elongated and engraved stones that tell the life and the most important facts of the rulers who lived in different times. It has been discovered, thanks to the hieroglyphs engraved on them, that its true Maya name was Ox Te’ Tuun, which means three stones or three stelae.
Calakmul Archaeological Zone
It was discovered by Cyrus Longworth, who named it Calakmul, which means ”city of the adjacent pyramids”. This occurred to him because of the two mounds that can be seen as soon as one arrives at the site. Ca means two, Lak means adjacent and Mul means artificial pyramid.
Calakmul is currently a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a natural reserve where you can find an infinity of flora and fauna. To visit it you can make two routes, one long and one short, although depending on how you want to live your excursion, there may be a few more. If you would like to see more archaeological sites, we recommend Uxmal.
Calakmul is composed of five complexes around a central plaza from which several roads or sacbes led to connect with other neighboring towns. This is where it is believed that the religious, economic and political life of the inhabitants took place.
In addition to the Great Plaza, you will have to admire Structure II, the main and tallest building composed of large staircases, which is considered the great Pyramid of Calakmul. Another complex is the Great Acropolis, which was the residential area where Structures XIII and XIV are located. Likewise, you will also find the Chiik Nahb Acropolis where some very successful mural paintings are preserved. We can also find Structure I, the second tallest building in which there are different altars and stelae, and which would be considered the second pyramid of Calakmul.
Biosphere Reserve in Calakmul
There is an extensive variety of animals and plants at the Calakmul site. Many of the different varieties of animals are threatened by illegal hunting, species trafficking and extinction. The animals you can find are monkeys, eagles, jaguars, caimans and much more. With respect to plants, there are orchids, etc.
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