Toniná

Mayan Archaeology > Chiapas > Chiapas

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The place where sculptures rise in honor of time

The Toniná archaeological zone has numerous remnants of the Mayan culture. Its name means “house of stone” or “great houses of stone” in the Tzeltal language. Its golden age occurred during the late Classic period (600-900 A.D.), when the majority of the inscriptions and monuments were made. It is located in the Ocosingo Valley, which is an area of transition between the Chiapas jungle and forest. The Acropolis of Toniná was one of the largest structures of ancient Mexico towards the end of the Classic period.

It coincided with the golden age of Tikal, Copán, and Palenque, with which it shared images of figures based on the monsters of the earth, aquatic deities, celestial birds, and dragons from the underworld. Toniná came to be an important military power, as shown by the inscriptions found of prisoners in stone and stucco.

Among the most interesting features of the architectural group are the impressive 70-meter pyramid known as The Acropolis, a ball court, as well as numerous objects, bas-reliefs and excellent quality sculptures.

The Acropolis is formed by seven platforms, ten temples and four palaces, almost all of them communicated with one another through staircases and labyrinth style halls.

From the base, enormous panels with fretwork rise, which form part of the War Palace. On the sixth platform, at the feet of the Temple of the Monster of the Earth, one of the most important pieces of the site can be seen: the Mural of the Four Eras, dated between 790 and 840 A.D., which represents the main Mayan deities framed by the legend of the four suns.

One can ascend the pyramid through a labyrinth of stairs that lead to the Temple of the Smoking Mirror which rises 80 meters over the Great Plaza. From there the sacred space is accessed through the ball court which, at over 70 meters, was one of the largest of its time.

There are a total of 97 buildings located in the city, of different sizes and architectural functions (a temple for each of the 13 Mayan gods, residence palaces, a mural, among others, as well as two ball courts and 38 tombs).

Hours
Tuesday through Sunday from 9:00 to 16:00
Rates
46 pesos
How to arrive

Depart from Tuxtla Gutiérrez and head towards San Cristóbal de las Casas. It is 84 km on the highway. Once in San Cristóbal de las Casas, head to the city of Ocosingo on highway 199. The archaeological zone of Toniná is located 11 kilometers ahead on a dirt road.

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Map and address

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11 kilometers northwest from Ocosingo.