..... .....

 

MARTIN

Copan ........Archeologists believe that people have lived in the valley of Copan since 1200 BC. Their skills in crafts developed early and they were influenced by Mexico. The Mayan city of Copan flourished from the years 250 - 900 AD. The royal family of the Great Sun Lord Quetzal Macaw, or K'inich Yax K'uk' Mo' if you prefer, rose to power about 426 AD. His line ruled in Copan throughout its golden age.

The artists of Copan excelled in sculpture and hieroglyphics. It was little wonder it was dubbed "the Paris of the Mayan World".

MARTIN
MARTIN
MARTIN
a replica of a temple discoverd under one of the pyramids in Copan

It wasn't all peace and art, though. The people of Copan were a warlike people. The 12th king of Copan, Smoke Jaguar, expanded the power of the city as it grew during his reign from 628 - 695. The next king, 18 Rabbit, continued in those warlike ways. Eventually, he learned that you reap what you sew. He was captured by his enemies in 738. Unfortunately for him, they kept no prisoners of war in his case. They beheaded him.

MARTIN
a colorful greeting to Copan........

Chichen Itza, on a Sunday, had thousands of visitors. Tikal, also on a Sunday, had hundreds. Copan, on a day when the locals couldn't enter for free, had a couple dozen explorers. I didn't hear people. Instead, I heard tropical birds. And, colorful macaws flying among the ruins were beautiful indeed.

MARTIN
MARTIN

The most famous monument in Copan was the Hieroglyphic Stairway (below), a project of King 18 Rabbit. The tarp over it, installed to protect it from the elements, did distract from the beauty. But, under that tarp was a Mayan wonder. Sixty-three steps, carved in hieroglyphics, told the history of the royal house of Copan. There were several thousand glyphs on the steps and on the bordering ramps. At its base was a stature of King Smoke Shell, king 15 of 16, who completed the project.

MARTIN
Hieroglyphic Stairway

You couldn't climb the Hieroglyphic Stairway, naturally, or the steps that lead up the Acropolis right next to it. Fortunately, there was a path nearby that safely went to the top. Some of the best carvings were there and certainly some of the best views. I had a few minutes of peace atop the Acropolis before others drew near. Magnificent!

Click on to see more photos from Copan.

MARTIN
Copyright 2014 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.

Search