Ruinas Kohunlích Things to Do

  • Inside of the temple, can't go there
    Inside of the temple, can't go there
    by Ericasmurf99
  • Things to Do
    by Ericasmurf99
  • Things to Do
    by Ericasmurf99

Most Recent Things to Do in Ruinas Kohunlích

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    Upside Down Tree

    by TravellerMel Updated Jun 1, 2011

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    Upside Down Tree

    On the path leading to the ruins, you will see an upside down tree. Our guide said it was uprooted and re-planted this way as a marker by the explorers who found the ruins, so they would be able to find it again - without signalling the site to other explorers in the area. What I can't figure out is:

    1) how it continued to stay alive (since it is does not appear to be dead), and

    2) wouldn't the sight of a tree growing upside-down attract MORE attention to the area, thus negating the purpose?

    Thinking too much again - must need more tequila...

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    Climb a Pyramid

    by TravellerMel Updated Sep 15, 2009

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    There are two pyramids at Kohunlich which can be climbed - the Pyramid of the Masks and the Temple Major. Both are STEEP and have no hand railings, so you must be very careful. Also, if you suffer from a fear of heights (as do I), be sure to not go alone. I had to sit on the steps and "bump" my way back down - a rather long and tedious method indeed!

    The view from Temple Major was stunning - looking out into the jungle foliage, lots of beautiful exotic birds, and we could hear a jungle cat! The Pyramid of the Masks is also fantastic, but you are looking in, rather than out, since the 8' stone carved masks are the highlight here. I have another tip about that one especially.

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    Pyramid of the Masks

    by TravellerMel Written May 19, 2009

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    Close-up of Mask
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    The hightlight of a trek to Kohunlich is the Pyramid of the Masks - a large pyramid with six carved stucco masks stretching down the side. Some say the masks represent former rulers of the area while others say they represent gods. Most of the pyramid is covered with a thatched roof to protect the masks. Two of the masks were almost completely cleaned off and these made for some great photos. It is a beautiful and awesome sight.

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    The Ballcourts

    by Ericasmurf99 Written Jul 19, 2007

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    It is fairly well-preserved and is exceptional because of its length - 42 metres. You should know that the winners were sacrificed after a game, not the losers. It was considered an honor to be sacraficed.

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    Complex of the Twenty-Seven Steps

    by Ericasmurf99 Written Jul 19, 2007

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    This is the most elaborate residential complex yet found. It stands atop a large platform accessed by a series of, surprisingly enough, twenty-seven steps (take care - slippery moss grows on most of the steps). Here, we find a series of small patios, corridors, stairs and rooms. This feature has only recently been opened for visiting, and there is not much information regarding it.

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    The Acropolis

    by Ericasmurf99 Updated Jul 19, 2007

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    The largest structure at Kohunlich is the Acropolis. A wide flight of steps leads up to the top of a massive platform. A narrow entrance opens out into a patio on top. Some tall rooms on one side of this patio bear hallmarks from the Río Bec region. In addition, on the south and east sides of the platform are stairs leading nowhere, another Río Bec trait.

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    Pyramid of the Masks

    by Ericasmurf99 Updated Jul 18, 2007

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    Sun God
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    Kohunlich is noted for its magnificent stucco masks of the Sun God, Kinich Ahau. These masks make up the lower four panels of the Pyramid of the Masks, and are noted for being the most refine and sensitive deity portrayals in all of Meso America.

    Originally, each of these masks had been painted bright colors. Much of the red paint can still be seen on the mask surfaces.

    The sloping thatched roof was installed by restorers of the site. It acts as a protective shield for the beautifully preserved set of stucco masks underneath.

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  • Stephen-KarenConn's Profile Photo

    The Palace

    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated Feb 24, 2007

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    The Palace
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    The Palace holds a prominent place between the Western Residential Complex and the Acropolis. This construction was undertaken around the year 600 A.D. and was originally a one story structure. Later the first primitive dwelling was demolished and a platform was built upon which an elegant resident was built. It probably housed some of the highest-ranking people of Kohunlich.

    Various modifications of the Palace took place over a 600 year period. It was even vandalized since many of the objects which were once in its interior were found thrown away as junk on the west side of the platform.

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    Western Residential Complex

    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated Feb 24, 2007

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    Karen in the Western Residential Complex
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    The Western Residential Complex can be seen on your left, immediately after entering the Kohunlich ruins area. This area is thought to have been inhabited between the years of 600-1200 A.D., and is probably functioned as living quarters for a group of high-ranking artisans who were dedicated to the manufacture of of shell artifacts.

    By observing the distribution of the rooms one can see that they were the result of various construction periods - perhaps over centuries of time. Rooms have been sub-divided, remodeled and, in some cases, demolished. This probably occurred due to the need of expanded living quarters as the population grew.

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    The Masks

    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated Feb 24, 2007

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    On either side of the Temple of the Masks main stairs are a series of five stone masks. Originally there were six, but one was stolen. The faces are all representations of the sun god Kinich Ahau, although slight differences between them have suggested that each is also a portrait of a deified ruler.

    The masks have conspicuously large lips and noses and the original colored stucco is still in evidence. They are are adorned with ornaments and headdresses. These masks are unique to Mexico. Two less impressive examples are at the Mayan site of Edzna. Archeologists believe that there was once some connection between these sites.

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    Temple of the Masks

    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated Feb 24, 2007

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    Temple of the Masks
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    The highlight to any visit to Kohunlich is the Temple of the Masks. This pyramid, set on a hilltop at the very back of the complex and is usually the last thing a visitor sees. It is partially covered with a thatch roof to protect the large masks on either side of the central stairs.

    Visitors are free to climb to the top, but should take care because the footway is steep and uneven. Along the way you will be able to get a close-up view of the masks which give the pyramid its name. I will share more photos of the masks on the next tip.

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    Temple of the Twin Columns

    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated Feb 24, 2007

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    Twin Columns
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    To one side of Merwin Plaza is the Temple of the Twin Columns, so-called because of a double line of short columns lining its entrance.

    According to our guide, this feature of twin columns is unique to Konulich among the Mayan archeological sites.

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    Temple or Palace of the Stelae

    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated Feb 24, 2007

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    Temple of the Stelae
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    To the extreme east of the Plaza of the Stelae lies the Temple of the Stelae, also sometimes called the Palace of the Stelae, built around 600 A.D. At the base of this impressive structure stand three plain stelas which were probably stuccoed and painted in pre-Hispanic times.

    A stelae is an ancient stone monument.

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    Plaza of the Stelae

    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated Feb 24, 2007

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    Plaza of the Stelae
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    The Plaza of the Stelae constitutes the central space of the Kohunlich archeological site. It is one of the largest in the south of the state of Quintana Roo. This would have been the scene of various public events and ceremonies among the Mayan people who built and inhabited this ancient city.

    With a little imagination one can see the parade of human activity that took place here between 800 and 1400 years ago, although it is very peaceful and quite today.

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    The Acropolis

    by Stephen-KarenConn Written Feb 15, 2007

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    The Acropolis
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    The Acropolis, the largest structure in Konhulich, was originally a "c" shaped building. It's most notable feature is the false steps on the North and East sides. Also, it has a vaulted interior eight meters high. The Acropolis is built in the Rio Bec style from Campeche.

    This building was later covered entirely by a huge platform which may have held a residential complex with restricted access. Another residential wing seems to have been added toward the southwest at a later period. Ancient graffiti can still be seen on some of the interior stuccoed walls.

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