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Free images of Belize - Xunantunich - Maya Ruins

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Xunantunich Belize Maya Ruins El Castillo

Xunantunich - Belize - 11  "El Castillo"

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The first archeological site in Belize that was ever opened to the public was Xunantunich in 1954.  Getting to the site involves  a 130 km drive west of Belize City and then a short ferry crossing over a small river.  Climbing atop the ruins, one can easily see the border of Guatemala 1 km away to the west.

Xunantunich is believed to have been a ceremonial center in the Late and Terminal Classic periods.  The name in Mayan means "Stone Woman" or "Maiden of the Rock" in the Yucatec dialect.  We do not know what the original name of the center was.  The modern name given refers to a ghost seen at the site - a woman dressed in white with red eyes.  She appears in front of "El Castillo", climbs the stone stairs and disappears into a stone wall.

 

El Castillo Ruins at Xunantunich Belize

Xunantunich - Belize - 14  "El Castillo"

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It is thought that Xunantunich was built some time around the Classic Period 300-900 AD.  An unknown event caused it to be abandoned around 750 AD.  Archaeologists have discovered evidence of an earthquake. The center was re-established approximately 780-890 AD.

Xunantunich covers an area of about 1 square mile and is made up of six plazas that are surrounded by more than 26 Temples and Palaces.  The center of the site is located on an artificially leveled limestone ridge which stands 183 meters above sea level.

The best known structure at Xunantunich is the pyramid named "El Castillo" which stands 130 feet (40 m) tall and has been built on the intersection of two cardinal lines.  Evidence suggests that the temple was built, much like many other Mayan Temples, in two stages.  

 

Xunantunich Belize Maya Ruins El Castillo

Xunantunich - Belize - 1  "El Castillo"

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View from atop Xunantunich Belize Maya Ruins El Castillo

Xunantunich - Belize - 2 The View from atop El Castillo

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View from atop pyramid looking at Guatemala

Xunantunich - Belize - 3 The View from atop El Castillo

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The 360 degree views from the top of El Castillo offer wonderful views of the jungle canopy surrounding the area.  One can see the Macal, Mopan and Belize River Valleys as well as the Guatemalan Peten District.

 

View from atop pyramid looking at Guatemala

Xunantunich - Belize - 4 The View from atop El Castillo

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Looking down toward the steps from atop El Castillo at Xunantuich Belize

Xunantunich - Belize - 5 The View from atop El Castillo looking down the stairs.

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Unexcavated mounds at Xunantunich in Belize.

Xunantunich - Belize - 15 
The View from atop El Castillo looking down the stairs at more uncovered mounds of ruins.

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Descending the steps of El Castillo at Xunantuich Belize

Xunantunich - Belize - 7 Climbing down the stairs of El Castillo.

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El Castillo is best known for its frieze - a banded stucco decoration - which originally extended all around pyramid.  The frieze shows the birth of a god, gods of creation and includes the tree of life extending from the underworld, the earth and the heavens.

Note:  Don't confuse "El Castillo" at Xunantunich with the one at Chichen Itza !

 

Banded stucco decorations at Xunantunich Belize Maya Ruins.

Xunantunich - Belize - 16 Remains of banded stucco decorations.

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Maya pyramid El Castillo at Xunantunich in Belize

Xunantunich - Belize - 8  El Castillo

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Maya ruins at Xunantunich in Belize

Xunantunich - Belize - 9 Mayan ruins at Xunantunich

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Maya pyramid El Castillo at Xunantunich in Belize

Xunantunich - Belize - 10 Mayan ruins at Xunantunich with El Castillo in background.

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Maya ruins at Xunantunich in Belize

Xunantunich - Belize - 12 Mayan ruins at Xunantunich with El Castillo in background.

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Maya pyramid El Castillo at Xunantunich in Belize

Xunantunich - Belize - 13 Mayan ruins at Xunantunich with El Castillo in background.

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If you'd like to drop me a note to let me know if any of these images have been useful, I'd love to hear from you. I'm curious to see if my snapshots have been of benefit to you in some way.  Also, I'd like to hear what kind of images you'd like to see more of. 

 

 

 

 

World Travel


Cabot Trail-Canada

 


Puerto Rico Artwork

 

"The world 
is a book 
and those 
who do not travel, 
read only one page." 

~ St. Augustine ~

 


Banff - Alberta, Canada

 


Capilla de Cristo, Puerto Rico

 


Chichen Itza-Mexico

 


Niagara Falls-Canada

 


Carnton Plantation-USA

 


Chichen Itza-Mexico

 


Paris-France

 


Heidelberg-Germany

"Now more than ever
do I realize 
that I will never be content 
with a sedentary life, 
that I will always be haunted 
by thoughts 
of a sun-drenched elsewhere."

~ Isabelle Eberhardt ~


Athabasca Glacier-
Canada

 


Kohunlich-Mexico

 


Lake Morraine-Canada


"The journey of a
thousand miles
begins 
with a single step."

~ Lao Tzu ~

 


El Morro - Puerto Rico

 


Rocky Mountains-Canada

 


Ottawa-Canada

 


Peggy's Cove-Nova Scotia

 


Trevi Fountain-Italy

 


Niagara Falls-Canada


"I travel not 
to go anywhere,
but to go.
I travel 
for travel's sake.
The great affair
is to move."

~ Robert 
Louis Stevenson ~

 


Venice-Italy

 


Washington Monument

 

 

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