Top 10 Most Famous Ancient Mayan Temples

Bonampak – Temple of Murals

Mayan Civilization is known for its architecture because they have built large palaces, pyramids and public buildings that are still in working condition. All the architecture has been covered with carvings and statues of the Gods they follow to commemorate their kings but they are best known for their pyramids. Mayans have built two types of pyramids, the first has a temple on the top and the second one is a sacred pyramid dedicated to God. The first need to be climbed by a priest in order to make sacrifices to God. The second one need not be touched by humans. They have intense faith in the god and that is the primary reason they have built so many beautiful ancient Mayan temples. Here is the list of all ancient Mayan temples in the world,

Mayan Temples

1.Temple of the Night Sun, El Zotz

Temple of the Night Sun is one of the beautiful ancient Mayan temples built 1,600 years ago. This is a pyramid temple also known as El Diablo is the largest building with 525ft (160m) above the Early Classic Maya city of El Zotz, established in about AD 350. The Maya name is Pa’Chan which means Split Sky or Citadel Sky and connects the eastern and western Maya territories. The site is named after El Zotz because of many bats who live in the caves of its escarpment (zotz is Maya for bat) and was first identified in the 1970s. It is coloured red and has giants masks that shows the phases of the sun as it completes its cycle.

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Temple of the Night Sun, El Zotz

2.El Castillo, Chichen Itza

El Castillo is also known as the Temple of Kukulcán is one of the amazing pyramid Mayan temples that are located at the centre of the Chichen Itza archaeological site in the Mexican state of Yucatán. It is believed to be built by the pre-Columbian Maya civilization between the 8th and 12th centuries AD. It is a temple dedicated to the deity Kukulcán, the Yucatec Maya Feathered Serpent deity. The Feathered Serpent God, who was the Supreme God of the Mayan people and shows an ethereal phenomenon. The Feathered Serpent God is believed to be the lord of four elements and also the creator of all.

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El Castillo, Chichen Itza

3.Tikal Temple I

Tikal Temple I is one of the major structures built by Mayan people during the pre-Columbian Maya civilization in Mesoamerica. It is also known as the Temple of the Great Jaguar (because of the sitting king on the jaguar throne or the Temple of Ah Cacao(because of the kind buried inside the temple). It has been built with a limestone stepped pyramid structure dating back to 732 AD. Ancient Mayan temple is situated at the World Heritage Site and it has been characterized by roof comb which is one of the distinctive Maya architectural features. Tikal was the biggest Mayan city and the expected population is around 100,000 and 200,000 occupants.

Tikal Temple I

Image Source: Wikimedia

4.Temple of Rosalila

The Temple of Rosalila was discovered on June 23, 1989, by Honduran archaeologist Ricardo Agurcia Fasquelle who is now the Executive Director of the Copán Association. The temple is one of the best examples of monumental architecture at Copan and it was named Rosalila which means rose-lilac colour in Spanish. It was not destroyed by the Mayans and all the rooms, mouldings, and niches were carefully filled with mud and stones. The statue is 12.9 meters tall and has three stories related to it. The upper two-level served as a giant pre-Columbian billboard and is a perfect example of religious artwork from the Early Classic.

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Temple of Rosalila

Image Source: Wikimedia

5.Bonampak – Temple of Murals

Bonampak is an ancient Maya archaeological site situated in the Chiapas, Mexico. The construction of the site has been started during the classic period (500 AD – 800 AD). It is known for its amazing ancient wall paintings known as Murals. The temple is a narrow building with 3 rooms on a pyramid. All the paintings tell us the story of Mayan Kings and Queens, folk dances and songs and also about the bloody Mayan Wars.

Bonampak – Temple of Murals

Image Source: Wikimedia

6.Temple of the Inscriptions

Temple of the Inscriptions Mayan name is Bʼolon Yej Teʼ Naah that means House of the Nine Sharpened Spears. It is the largest Mesoamerican stepped pyramid temple built during the Columbian Maya civilization on Palenque, located in the modern-day state of Chiapas, Mexico. It has been built for K’inich Janaab’ Pakal who was a ruler of Palenque in the 7th century and its reign over the polity lasted almost 70 years. Almost all the structure at the Palenque dated back to 600 AD to 800 AD including the Temple of Inscriptions, the main Mesoamerican pyramid worked as a funerary landmark. This is a UNESCO World Heritage site and consist of the longest hieroglyphic texts of the Mayan world.

Temple of the Inscriptions

Image Source: Wikimedia

7.Nohoch Mul temple, Coba

Coba site was opened to the public as an archaeological site in1973. It has been belived that the site has approximately,000 structures exist, but only three settlements are for public viewing. Coba means waters stirred by the wind is one of the beautiful Mayan sites that was surrounded by two large lagoons. The site is located between Tulum in the state of Quintana Roo and Valladolid in the state of Yucatan. The archaeologists learned about the site in the year 1800 and believed it to have 50,000 occupants at its pinnacle. The toughest pyramid to climb at the location is the NohochMol temple that has a steep slope, lean gaps and niches. The pyramid is approximately 42 meters (138 ft) high.

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Nohoch Mul temple, Coba

Image Source: Wikimedia

8.Grand Temple of Calakmul,Calakmul

Grand Temple of Calakmul located about 50 km from the Guatemala border. Calakmul is one of the largest archaeological sites in the Mexican state of Campeche. This is one of the most powerful ancient cities ever uncovered in the Maya lowlands. The site has approximately 6,500 antiquated structures recognized and the biggest pyramid is 55 meter (180 foot) high. The Grand ancient Mayan temple is a UNESCO World Heritage site with four tombs, hidden in the Pyramid. The site was rediscovered by biologist Cyrus L. Lundell of the Mexican Exploitation Chicle Company on December 29, 1931, and the findings were reported to Sylvanus G. Morley of the Carnegie Institute at Chichen Itza in March 1932.

Grand Temple of Calakmul,Calakmul

Image Source: Wikimedia

9.Temple of the Frescoes,Tulum

Temple of the Frescoes has its name because the back room of the first floor has a mural painting on stucco, in black, green, yellow and mainly red that represents the male and female deities and the offering as dedicated to the Gods like flowers, fruits and ears of corn. It is a temple with a two-story building along with two rooms and 4 monolithic columns that form the entrance gaps. It was mainly used as an observatory for tracking the movement and positioning of the Sun.

Temple of the Frescoes,Tulum

Image Source: Wikimedia

10.Jaguar Temple

Jaguar Temple is officially known as Lamanai Structure N10-9 is one of the beautiful ancient Mayan temples located at the Maya archaeological site of Lamanai which is present-day Belize. A significant amount of temple is underground, however much of it has been exposed to the High Temple. It has a d jungle roughage on its left side when facing the front of the temple. It is situated in Belize, Lamanai has many other temples such as the Mask Temple, Jaguar Temple, and High Temple.

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Jaguar Temple

Image Source: Wikimedia

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