Copán, the splendor of the Mayan civilization. The artistic excellence at the frontier of Mesoamerica
Honduras has seen the comings and goings of people and cultures for thousands of years. Located at the confluence of the Mesoamerican civilization and ethnic groups from the south, the mythical city of Copan stands tall in the Mayan lowlands.
Its artistry, impressive scientific knowledge and sophisticated political and social organization are evident in its extraordinary Mayan ruins. Hieroglyphics, stelae and scenes delicately sculpted in relief narrate stories that time erased from the memory of the peoples. The traveler stands before a profusion of art that is difficult to find anywhere else.
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Copán is an archaeological site of the Mayan civilization, located on the Copán Department of western Honduras, not very far from the border with Guatemala. It was the capital of one of the main kingdoms from the 5th to 9th centuries A.D.
The ruins, located in the heart of the Copán Valley, have been the center of the most research about the ancient Mayan civilization that has been performed lately.
The Copán site is known for its impressive sculptures carved in stone and especially the portraits of its kings reflected in a series of stelae, the majority of which were placed along the processional streets in the central plaza of the city and the neighboring acropolis, a large complex of the superposition of step pyramids, plazas and palaces.
The site has a large patio for playing the Mesoamerican ball game. The hieroglyphic stairway climbs the western side of Structure 10L-26 in the main plaza, which contains approximately 2200 glyphs recorded in it, which form the longest known Mayan hieroglyphic text. The first mention of the archaeological ruins of Copán that arrived in the Western world comes from a letter sent to King Phillip II in 1576 by Diego García de Palacios: "In the streets (of Guatemala) in the city of San Pedro, in the first village within the province of Honduras, known as Copán, there are certain ruins and vestiges of a large population and superb buildings, of such skill and splendor that it seems that they never could have been built by the natives..." The Copán Ruins also offer routes to sites such as the Bird Park, cafes, spas and hot springs, traditional fiestas and, above all, their culture and tradition.
Rastrojón is an archaeological site that is located next to the Hotel Clarion Posada Real.
In its heyday, it was an area exclusively for Mayan warriors.
It is currently not open to the public, but will be open soon.
The Río Amarillo Archaeological site was a very important Mayan city in the region neighboring the city of Copán. It is a settlement whose history dates from the Early-Classic period to the Late-Classic period (from 250 A.D. to 850 A.D.).
Its importance is evident in the grandeur of its buildings, the beauty of its sculptural works, represented both in its monuments and in the facades of its most important buildings. It is also one of the best-preserved and largest sites in the western area of Honduras.
The protected area of the Río Amarillo Archaeological Park includes the archaeological area (5 blocks) and a forest reserve (45 blocks), accommodating a large variety of species of flora and fauna native to the region. It is also a refuge for important natural and cultural resources for both local and international tourism.
The archaeological park El Puente is located to the north of the Florida Valley in the municipality of La Jigua, Copán, two kilometers to the north of the confluence of the Chamelecón and Chinamito Rivers, and some 5 kilometers from the diversion of La Laguna over the highway that joins La Entrada with the Copán Ruins. The park is found in a plot of land approximately 8 blocks in size, but the archaeological site reaches an approximate area of 2 square kilometers.
El Puente was constructed around the year 570 A.D., probably by a group of immigrants from the elite who left Copán. Their objective was, among other things, perhaps to control the commercial trading route between Copán Valley and the center of Honduras, ensuring that they would obtain important materials.
The archaeological site is composed of 210 structures, 14 of which have been investigated and restored so far. The main group has a long formation with elongated structures connected among each other, with an East-West orientation. It has 5 well-defined plazas. The western side of the main group is very close to the Chinamito River, where the latter forms a harbor that can be enjoyed by visitors for rest and relaxation.