Freedom8 Mesoamerica



 

   

Yaxchilan
- Means "green stones" in Mayan. The ruins lie on the left bank of the Usumacinta River just a little north and east of the ruins of Bonampak. This is a very difficult site to reach. The best way (or only way) is via the Usumacinta River from Guatemala. Launches can be hired at Sayaxché on the Pasíon River. The ruins have not been restored due to the location and even the major monuments are mostly covered in trees. There are many amazing carvings to see, plus the chance to get a feel of what a major Mayan archeological site was like before restoration. The stone carvings are in incredible shape and are some of the finest in the entire Mayan World. These richly carved lintels were made of limestone while Tikal's were of hard sapodilla wood. Yaxchilán was a large city in ancient times rivaling the magnificence of Palenque and Chichen Itzá. The building groups lie along slender esplanades set into the bank of the river. It seems to be influenced by Palenque more than the Peten region of Guatemala. The roof-combs of the buildings are wider and higher than those of Palenque. The core area of the site is the Grand Plaza. It is composed of two major groups named the Grand Acropolis and the Small Acropolis.
As with other groups at the site, these two were built making use of and modifying the lay of the land. There are 120 structures which make up the core area, around 30 have been partially restored. Yaxchilán served as an important Classic Mayan regional capital rivaling, if not surpassing, Piedras Negras in its architectural grandeur and size. Yaxchilán, although mostly un-restored remains in better condition than Piedras Negras probably due to the use of stone lentils and a higher quality of engineering.