World Heritage Sites - we visited on Part II

Houston Travel Blog

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Mexico sites:



El Tajin, Pre-Hispanic City

Etat de Veracruz, municipalité de Papantla
N20 28 35 W97 22 39

Located in the state of Veracruz, El Tajin was at its height from the early 9th to the early 13th century. It became the most important centre in north-east Mesoamerica after the fall of the Teotihuacan Empire. Its cultural influence extended all along the Gulf and penetrated into the Maya region and the high plateaux of central Mexico. Its architecture, which is unique in Mesoamerica, is characterized by elaborate carved reliefs on the columns and frieze. The 'Pyramid of the Niches', a masterpiece of ancient Mexican and American architecture, reveals the astronomical and symbolic significance of the buildings. El Tajin has survived as an outstanding example of the grandeur and importance of the pre-Hispanic cultures of Mexico.


Historic Fortified Town of Campeche

State of Campeche
N19 50 47 W90 32 14

Campeche is a typical example of a harbour town from the Spanish colonial period in the New World. The historic centre has kept its outer walls and system of fortifications, designed to defend this Caribbean port against attacks from the sea.


Historic Monuments Zone of Tlacotalpan

State of Veracruz, Tlacotalpan Municipality
N18 36 30 W95 39 30

Tlacotalpan, a Spanish colonial river port on the Gulf coast of Mexico, was founded in the mid-16th century. It has preserved its original urban fabric to a remarkable degree, with wide streets, colonnaded houses in a profusion of styles and colours, and many mature trees in the public open spaces and private gardens.


Pre-Hispanic City and National Park of Palenque

State of Chiapas, Municipality of Palenque
N17 29 00 W92 03 00

A prime example of a Mayan sanctuary of the classical period, Palenque was at its height between AD 500 and 700, when its influence extended throughout the basin of the Usumacinta River. The elegance and craftsmanship of the buildings, as well as the lightness of the sculpted reliefs with their Mayan mythological themes, attest to the creative genius of this civilization.


Pre-Hispanic City of Chichen-Itza

Etat de Yucatan, Municipalité de Tinum
N20 40 W88 36

This sacred site was one of the greatest Mayan centres of the Yucatán peninsula. Throughout its nearly 1,000-year history, different peoples have left their mark on the city. The Maya and Toltec vision of the world and the universe is revealed in their stone monuments and artistic works. The fusion of Mayan construction techniques with new elements from central Mexico make Chichen-Itza one of the most important examples of the Mayan-Toltec civilization in Yucatán. Several buildings have survived, such as the Warriors’ Temple, El Castillo and the circular observatory known as El Caracol.


World Heritage Sites - Central America


Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System

Belize District (sites I, II, III), Stann Creek District ( IV,V,VI), Toledo District (VII)
N16 45 0 W87 3 30

The coastal area of Belize is an outstanding natural system consisting of the largest barrier reef in the northern hemisphere, offshore atolls, several hundred sand cays, mangrove forests, coastal lagoons and estuaries. The system’s seven sites illustrate the evolutionary history of reef development and are a significant habitat for threatened species, including marine turtles, manatees and the American marine crocodile.

The largest barrier reef in the Northern hemisphere -a serial nomination consisting of seven sites. The Reef illustrates a classic example of reefs through fringing, barrier and atoll reef types.



Archaeological Park and Ruins of Quirigua (1981)

Department of Izabal
N15 16 14 W89 02 25


Inhabited since the 2nd century A.D., Quirigua had become during the reign of Cauac Sky (723��"84) the capital of an autonomous and prosperous state. The ruins of Quirigua contain some outstanding 8th-century monuments and an impressive series of carved stelae and sculpted calendars that constitute an essential source for the study of Mayan civilization.


Tikal National Park (1979)

Department of El Peten
N17 13 W89 37


In the heart of the jungle, surrounded by lush vegetation, lies one of the major sites of Mayan civilization, inhabited from the 6th century B.C. to the 10th century A.D. The ceremonial centre contains superb temples and palaces, and public squares accessed by means of ramps. Remains of dwellings are scattered throughout the surrounding countryside.



Maya Site of Copan (1980)

Copán; westernmost part of the country- N14 51 00 W89 08 00


Discovered in 1570 by Diego García de Palacio, the ruins of Copán, one of the most important sites of the Mayan civilization, were not excavated until the 19th century. The ruined citadel and imposing public squares reveal the three main stages of development before the city was abandoned in the early 10th century.


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photo by: vances