........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.
artists of Copan excelled in sculpture and hieroglyphics.
It was little wonder it was dubbed "the Paris of the Mayan World".
replica of a temple discoverd under one of the pyramids in Copan
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.
colorful greeting to Copan........
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.
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.
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!