Midwesterner in Mexico header image

Yaxchilan in photos

If you read the previous post, you know that we’ve finally arrived at the Maya archeological site of Yaxchilan on the banks of the Usamacinta river.  There are more than 120 structures in the central area, distributed in three complexes at different elevations.  Yaxchilan shares similar characteristics with other regional sites, including roof combs, stelae, carved lintels, alters and murals, among others.  As I noted in the previous Palenque post, much of the ornamention was done by painting the layer of stucco covered the exterior of many buildings.  Very little remains, but what does is breath-taking; it must have been simply amazing.  Make sure to bring your flashlight!  We were the only group there for the majority of our three-hour visit and I was by myself much of the time.  It was pretty awe-inspiring to wander around alone and imagine what life must have been like over a thousand years ago.  Let’s start the photo essay, shall we?

We entered the site at the rear of a temple which had a bunch of underground tunnels.  You can see the base of the roof comb above my head.

We entered the site at the rear of a temple which had a bunch of underground tunnels. You can see the base of the roof comb above my head.

Descent into creepy darkness, anyone?

Descent into creepy darkness, anyone?

Checking out the tunnels.  Note the classic Maya arch.

Checking out the tunnels. Note the classic Maya arch.

In addition to bats, the tunnels had some awesome spiders.  Check out those jaws!

In addition to bats, the tunnels had some awesome spiders. Check out those jaws!

The main courtyard is about 50 yards wide, 400 yards long, and is flanked with buildings.

The main courtyard is about 50 yards wide, 400 yards long, and is flanked with buildings.

One of the lintel carvings

One of the lintel carvings

This Maya writing is on the underside of one of the lintels.  A good reason for tall people to duck and look up!

This Maya writing is on the underside of one of the lintels. A good reason for tall people to duck and look up!

A close-up of one of the stelae carvings.

A close-up of one of the stelae carvings.

Another fantastically detailed stelae close-up!

Another fantastically detailed stelae close-up!

Check out the staircase leading up from the main plaza to the Great Temple.

Check out the staircase leading up from the main plaza to the Great Temple.

The Great Temple, which still has a fair amount of the roof comb intact.

The Great Temple, which still has a fair amount of the roof comb intact.

The Maya in Yaxchilan supposedly believed their world would end if the head of this warrior, in the Great Temple, were replaced.

The Maya in Yaxchilan supposedly believed their world would end if the head of this warrior, in the Great Temple, were replaced.

Three temples sit perched a few hundred feet above the river and the main site.

Three temples sit perched a few hundred feet above the river and the main site.

A cross-section of a building shows just how big a fan the Maya were of this arch (sorry, I'm obsessed).

A cross-section of a building shows just how big a fan the Maya were of this arch (sorry, I'm obsessed).

Bookmark and Share
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

5 Comments on “Yaxchilan in photos”

  1. #1 American Mommy in Mexico
    on Jun 19th, 2009 at 6:59 am

    Looks awesome.

    The jaws in that spider indeed! ugh

  2. #2 Cuz Lisa
    on Jun 19th, 2009 at 8:14 am

    John, This looks like a great side trip! I’m going to forward to my folks (they don’t yet have the hang of facebook so won’t see it there). Looks like you’ll are enjoying Mexico! Lisa

  3. #3 Refried Dreamer
    on Jun 19th, 2009 at 10:46 am

    Funny, I killed that exact spider yesterday in the shop. CREEPY!!!

    nice photos!!!

  4. #4 Jim G.
    on Jun 23rd, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    The hallowed halls of Dodge Elementary School prepared you well for most of what is seen above…especially the dark tunnels down to the “banned ” room. (Bats “check”, Awesome Spiders “check,” Undecipherable Graffiti “check!” Deja vu all over again…

    We enjoyed some time with Fluffy’s folks–they put us onto your awesome site!

    jim grimes

  5. #5 Daniel
    on May 20th, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    It`s a tailless whip scorpion, not a spider.. Found one of those here on Isla Mujeres :)

Leave a Comment