El Tigre

Mayan Archaeology > Campeche > Campeche

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The most important fluvial port between Petén and the coast of Campeche.

El Tigre, also known as Itzamkánac, was the capital of the Mayan chiefdom of Acalán which, according to sources from the 16th Century, was considered to be the most important market of the Mayan world. Its occupation period spans from the mid Preclassic period to the Protohistoric period. It is located in the southwest of the state of Campeche, in the municipality of Candelaria, 40 kilometers from the town of El Tigre.

The site consists of six architectural groups. Building exploration in the main area has not displayed a defined style, but it does contain a ceremonial plaza of over 200 meters in length, closed by pyramidal bases and anthropomorphic figureheads from the Preclassic period.

El Tigre extends over a hill to the left margin of the Candelaria river, covering an approximate surface of 5 square kilometers. The ceremonial center consists of 4 great structures and 6 of smaller dimensions, 2 squares, 13 altars, and three flat stelae. Attention has been drawn to the lack of a defined architectural style, since the four main structures are very different from one another, although there central space is perfectly planned.

Structure I closes the plaza on the south side, Structure II on the east, and on the west Structure III, which, along with IV, forms the second plaza. Structure I consists of a great platform 149 meters long, 132 m wide and 9 m high, over which 4 small structures were placed (which were given the name platforms) and at the rear stands a 23 m high pyramid with a central stairway.

3 Ball Courts have been located: one in front of structure I, a smaller one located 200 meters north, and a third on the Sacbé, an area which has not been excavated yet.

History indicates that towards the year 1525, Hernán Cortés, aware of the commercial relevance of the port, visited here on his way to Honduras. To continue his journey, he opened paths and built great wooden bridges of which the historian Villagutierrez, near the year 1700, wrote: “Some of them still remain and are called the bridges of Cortés”.

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Monday through Sunday from 8:00 to 17:00
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How to arrive

It is located in the southwest of the state of Campeche in the municipality of Candelaria, 40 km from the town of El Tigre. It can be accessed by boat from the town of Candelaria on the Candelaria river, or by the highway, on the Escárcega – Villahermosa road, near the town of Nuevo Coahuila, taking the turn leading to Monclova (km 13.5), which leads directly to the site. From the state capital, it is 40 kilometers to Candelaria, and from there it is 500 meters to the town of El Tigre.

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Map and address

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From the state capital, it is 40 kilometers to Candelaria, and from there it is 500 meters to the town of El Tigre.