Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

copán the most beautiful

Posted by Hippobean at 11:55 PM
'if you dont remember anything, you will always remember 18 Rabbit' Gladis, our Copán Ruinas park guide told us before we started out for the site. As we walked, crunching the gravel on the path to the ruins, Gladis started 'Copán is not very big but it's the most beautiful. The others have big monuments. Copán has beauty'. Before the stone staircase leading up to the acropolis, Gladis spotted some mut muts on the trees. Soon we spotted a few more and everyone started to photograph them. Up the staircase, Temple 16 was the first sight we beheld. Not quite imposing as the top was long gone. Only the lower parts of the step pyramid and the steep grand staircase remained. 'Inside this pyramid, archaeologists discovered a sacrificial temple, totally intact' Gladis continued. 'The archaeologists named it Rosalila as it's completely covered in red. Only the archaeologists can go inside. But you can see it by paying $8 but I dont recommend it because you see through a small window with glass and it's very dark inside.'. Both the Estela P and the altar Q that stood in front of Temple 16 were replicas. The real ones were in the site museum, which meant I had to visit it. Estela P was completely carved on all 4 sides, like nothing I've ever seen. It depicted Butz Chan, the 11th Ruler of Copán. Altar Q showed all 16 rulers, 4 on each side of the square altar. The front panel showed the first ruler Yax Kuk Mo passing the Royal Sceptre to the 16th ruler Yax Pasaj Chan Yopaat, Yax Pac, who wasnt from the royal blood line, so this symbolized his legitimate claim to power. On the left of Temple 16, it's the sacrificial Temple 11 where the rulers communed with the heavens and the underworld. 2 howler monkeys flanked the stairs. Luis, our tour leader, posed for a photo. 2 serpents heads with tongues sticking out, stood on each end of the temple.

Leaving the Acropolis area, on the right of temple 16, it's the royal residences next to the Copán river, which corroded much of the site and was diverted away from the temples. Then up the stairs on the left, a tomb, believed to be of ruler Yax Pasaj Chan Yopaat (Yax Pac). 2 more temples on each side of the east court, structure 18, the temple of rebirth, which sat on top of Yax Pac's tomb, and on the other side of the court, temple 22, where the rulers performed their sacrifices for the people by cutting their penises (ouch). Temple 22 entrance had very detailed carvings of human skulls and images of Chaac, the rain god, at the corner of the walls. This temple looked very scary to me so I only took a photo of Chaac carved where 2 walls met.

Down from Temple 22, we got a view of the main plaza where the hieroglyphic staircase of Temple 26 stood. Next to it, the ball court, and beyond, the plaza of the stelae. All Maya temples have grand staircases but none was carved. It had 2500 individual glyphs and its sides flanked by serpentine birds and snakes. 2 smoke jaguar statues sat on the staircase. In front of the stairway, Estela M, portrayed K’ak’ Yipyaj Chan K’awiil, Smoke Shell. The ball court was only second to the big one in Chichén Itzá. Instead of rings, the ball must hit the macaw heads.

Then it was stela after stela, each different and carved on all sides. Some still showed the red color that was originally painted on the rock. A marvel to lay eyes on. The day was hot and humid, the sun was partially hidden behind clouds and the macaws were flying between and landing on trees for us to admire. A true jungle alive. The monuments werent tall or spectacular but the intricate stelae indeed made Copán a most beautiful Maya site. Since I'd really like to see the full size Rosalila, I paid the small local museum a visit. They made you walk through a tunnel which was the entrance to the museum and behold the bright red temple at the end of the tunnel. Reminded me of el Ciq in Petra. The Rosalila temple wasnt very big but completely carved on all sides and there were 2 entrances to it. One could get a better view of its entirely on the open 2nd floor of the museum. The museum although small, contained many interesting artifacts from the Maya site that one couldnt see at the site, such as, panels and building walls from the cemetery, and the original altar Q and Estela P. I've quite enjoyed this museum.

Afterwards, we had refreshments at the park small cafe and shared our emotions about everything we saw. Then we drove back to our hotel which was just 5 minutes away. So it was town painting time. the Copán Ruinas town was a mellow village located on a hill and the cobblestone lanes were narrow, long and steep. Very picturesque, with colorful houses, restaurants, hotels and shops lining the streets. The small town square had a church, a monument dedicated to the local archaeologists who excavated the Maya site and a replica of Stela A. We had a delicious sandwich lunch at the San Rafael coffee and restaurant and i bought some Honduran coffee which although not very strong, was very flavorful, to take home. I quite liked this town. Dinner was at the Twisted Tanya, owned by an American from the Caribbeans. The menu and specials of the day looked very good but the food was just so so and a bit on the expensive side. While dining, a truck drove slowly by, blasting diesel and insecticides. Their way to curb the mozzies. We had to cover our food and drinks and hold our breaths. sigh.

It's been a long time since I'd wanted to finish the Ruta Maya and finally visiting Copán, I was quite happy and really enjoyed this Maya site. Cant wait to see Palenque.

Copán photos:

Copán Museum:

Copán Town:



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