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Copan Ruinas - Mysterious and Spectacular Cities of the Maya Civilization

Copan Ruinas Maya Civilization

Copan Ruinas is one of the most mysterious and spectacular cities of the Maya civilization. At its height, between AD 250 to 900, approximately 27,000 Maya lived here. Thereafter, the civilization mysteriously crumbled, and Copan Ruinas were left forgotten.

The ruins discovered by Spaniard Diego Garcia de Palacio in the 16th century hid the additional layers of buildings below. Most notably, the Rosalila temple, a perfectly preserved temple inside Structure 16 discovered by archaeologists in 1989.

Hieroglyphic Stairway

Overall, some 3,450 structures have been found within 27 square kilometers of the Principal Group of ruins. Copan's most famous monument is The Hieroglyphic Stairway. The flight of 63 steps bears a history inscribed with more than 1,800 glyphs.

But the entire story of the Maya is still shrouded in mystery, as some of the stairway is eroded or jumbled. Some archaeologists now believe the collapse of Copan was the result of a population boom coupled with agriculture that could not support the growth.