Mayan Archaeology > Campeche > Campeche
Discover the impressive frieze in the jaguar’s temple
The name Balamkú comes from Yucatec Maya, meaning “Jaguar’s Temple”, it was given to the site due to the feline motif decoration that was found on its frieze. It was occupied during the late Preclassic period, its peak occurred in the Classic period, and it declined in the Postclassic period.
Balamkú, with its "Rio Bec" style features, is located in the jungle, where you can enjoy the nature as you journey through it.
The archaeological site, reported in 1990, has an area of one square kilometer and consists of three architectural groups, the South group, the Central group, and the North group, although only two of them have been excavated. The south group is organized around four plazas; its main building is a pyramidal foundation with a height of 10 meters. The central group consists of two plazas, but only the one in the north has been excavated. It was here that a frieze was found, giving the palace the name “The House of the Four Kings", in reference to the four characters found on it.
The frieze is the most important monument, made from polychrome modeled stucco, with a height of 1.75 m. and a length of 16.80 m. It was built between the years 550 and 650. The scene represents an allegory of the order of the universe with figures of serpents and jaguars. A detailed reading, of great iconographic richness, reveals the complex conceptual world of the ancient Mayan people. They compared the dynasty cycle to the solar cycle. The ascension to the throne is illustrated by the king coming out of the jaws of the terrestrial monster, as the Sun comes out of the Earth’s mouth. The death of the king is seen as a Sunset, when he falls into the mouth of the Terrestrial Monster.
The area is located 3 kilometers northeast of the Nuevo Conhuás community, on kilometer 95 of the 186 Escárcega – Chetumal federal highway.
|Monday through Sunday from 8:00 to 17:00|
To get there from the city of Campeche, go through Champotón to Escárcega, then take federal highway 186 to Chetumal; on kilometer 95, take the turn to the left that goes directly to Balamkú. The approximate travel time on this route is 3 hours.