To the south of the Plaza of the Stelae, shaded by tall, Cohune palm trees, lies the Merwin Plaza, named after the man who discovered the city of Kohunlich. Surrounding this plaza are very low, ruined buildings.
This small square was built after the Plaza of the Stelae, perhaps to be used as a center for minor ceremonies. It is built in Rio Bec style. The buildings are lined with stuccoed figures, all painted in red.
On the east side of Merwin's Court is Kohunlich's Ball Court. It is fairly well-preserved and is exceptional because of its short length - 42 meters. Most Mayan sites of importance have such a court; many are larger.
The game played here had great symbolic content, which appears to have been related to a belief in the hereafter and to sacrificial rites.
According to our Mayan guide, young men who were the WINNERS in the game were put to death by decapitation, so that they could become rulers in the next world. They were assured of clear passage to Mayan Heaven without taking the intervening thirteen steps that the losing players have to do.
I suppose they must have been brainwashed from a very early age to believe such a notion. This reminds me of the same kind of blind faith that is instilled into young men of the Muslim religion who volunteer themselves to become suicide bombers, on the promise that they will be given a harem of virgins in paradise.
Some believe that in the Mayan games it was not the winners but the losers of the game who were sacrificed by being put to death. Perhaps it was either one or the other - depending upon the particular game being played.
On the far end of Merwin Plaza, across from the Temple of the twin columns, is what remains of the Building of the Eleven Doors. There's not much left to this ruin, and it would probably take an archeologist to determine that this structure once had eleven doors. Today the place is wide open.
Kinichna is close by and contains a single large temple. This temple is unique as it has a giant base for a foundation. There is a large structure as you drive up the road to get to the site, which is under reconstruction. Kinichna is not listed on some maps.
Que me enseño mi querido amigo Rafael:
con dinero y sin dinero
hago siempre lo que quiero
y mi palabra es la leeeeeeeeeeey
no tengo trono ni reina
ni nadie quien me comprenda
pero sigo sieeeendo el reeeeeeey
(José Alfredo Jiménez)
visit masks pyramid:a central staircase with three meters high masks of sun's god...it remains only 2 of the 8 original masks...
unfortunately under a protecting roof,in the shadow....not very easy to take a picture!
One of the 3 structures that make up the Plaza of the Stelae. It looks very similar to rows of seats. Perhaps the Mayans were watching something taking place in the Plaza?
Several low structures with rooms that are collectively called the Northwest Residential Complex. These were once home to elite members of Kohunlich society.
I thought this was interesting! Our guide explained that early explorers wanted to leave "their mark" by placing this tree upside down. I guess it is different from carving "I was here" in a tree.
Dzibanche is also another large fascinating site. It was apparently the capital city for the region in its heyday. You can easily spend a day there.
a mayan site,1st to 6th century.
stands in the tropical forest,very partially cleared.most of buildings stay under vegetation.