Copán, Honduras

Copan Travel Blog

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Copán, Honduras

In the afternoon we reached the borders of Honduras. In Honduras we visited the Maya ruines of Copán. This old city today is located in western Honduras, and it is near to the Guatemalan border. It is the site of a major Maya kingdom from about the 5th through the 9th century. The kingdom was originally named Xukpi (or "Corner-Bundle"). Its name is an apparent reference to the fact that it was situated at the far southern and eastern end of Maya territory. The nearby modern village of Copán Ruinas itself may have anciently been known as Oxwitik.

The fertile Copán River valley was long a site of agriculture before the first known stone architecture was built in the region. The first kingdom seems to have been established in Copán about 159.

Copán, Honduras
It grew into one of the most important Maya sites by the 5th century. Large monuments dated with hieroglyphic texts were erected in the city from 435 through 822. Xukpi (Copán) was one of the more powerful Maya city states, a regional power, although it suffered a catastrophic defeat at the hands of its former vassal state Quirigua (in Guatemala) in 738, when the long-ruling Xukpi ruler Uaxaclajuun Ub'aah K'awiil (king 18 rabbit) was captured and beheaded by Quirigua's ruler Kawak Sky. Though Copán's rulers began to build monumental structures again within a few decades, both cities withered in the face of big population growth bringing about the depletion of natural resources, factors that brought several of the Classic-Age Maya city-states to their end. The area continued to be occupied after the last major ceremonial structures and royal monuments were erected. The population declined in the 8th century - 9th century from perhaps over 20,000 in the city to less than 5,000. The ceremonial center was long abandoned and the surrounding valley home to only a few farming hamlets at the time of the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century. Later American archeolists explored the city, but took much of it's treasures to the United States. In Boston are some of the Copán treasures in it's museum.

Like Tikal it was good to see that this ancient city is straight in the rain forest. This place is great to visit in 2 or 3 hours.

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Copán, Honduras
Copán, Honduras
Copán, Honduras
Copán, Honduras
Copán, Honduras
Copán, Honduras
Copán, Honduras
Copán, Honduras
Copán, Honduras
Copán, Honduras
Copán, Honduras
Copán, Honduras
Copán, king 18-rabbit
Copán, king 18-rabbit
Copan
photo by: Biedjee