Copán Ruinas

copán

Located just 1 km outside a small town of the same name, Copán Ruinas, a Unesco World Heritage site and once home to one of the most important of all Maya civilizations, was our last and final stop on la ruta Maya.  Known for its remarkable sculptures, for which it is unique in the Maya world, and hieroglyphics, many of which are on display, Copán had a culture so developed it is often labeled the ‘Paris of the Maya world.’ 

It is believed that people lived in Copán since 1200 B.C., possibly earlier, and excavated artifacts show influences from as far away as Mexico.  The vast number of structures discovered indicates that at the peak of Maya civilization the Copán valley had over 20,000 inhabitants (a population not reached again until the 1980s).  As recently as 2005 the ruins have been the site of political demonstrations.  In September of that year, 1500 indigenous Maya – descendents of the original builders of Copán – occupied the ruins and barred visitors for five days in protest of stalled government land reforms.

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