Mayapan

Mayapan is believed to be the last capital of the Maya in the Yucatan peninsula, until the mid 1400's when it was looted and abandoned. This archaeological site is of great importance for the understanding of the Maya civilization in the area.

The ruins are in less good shape than most of the other sites around, because it was almost completely destroyed and looted in a rebellion. However, you can find several interesting buildings such as a small replica of the main pyramid of Chichen Itza and several remains of houses of the ruling class. There are a lot of administrative buildings and temples, mainly around the central square, since this was a capital city.

You will see many round buildings known as Observatories (used for the observation of the planets) and small sanctuaries.

You can still observe some extraordinary mural paintings inside many small temples, depicting the common life of the Maya, especially the warrior class.

The ruins are located 47 km south of Merida and 100 km west of Chichen Itza. It is worth to rent a car and take the trip from Merida, as you can enjoy the countryside and visit many colonial churches and some minor archaeological sites on your way. If you are staying in Cancun or the Riviera Maya, we recommend to spend at least 3 days to visit all the archaeological sites around Merida.

Mayapan means Banner of the Mayas. Supposedly, it was founded at the beginning of the 11th century, around 1007, by mythical Kukulcan. The raise of the influence of the city was almost exclusively by means of war. It started around 1220 and the ruling family succeeded in controlling almost all the Yucatan peninsula until mid 1400's when a rebellion leaded by a family from the neighbor city of Uxmal almost destroyed the complete city. Most of the buildings were burned and the inhabitants slaughtered. It is estimated that at its peak the city housed more than 12,000 inhabitants in more than 3,500 buildings on over a little more than 2.5 square miles. It is also one of the few Mayan cities bearing a wall, as Tulum.

The site is not well known and receives few visitors, which allows a quiet and peaceful environment. We suggest you to visit the site as early as possible as there is almost no shade and the sun can get strong.