Copan Ruins

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Central America Caribbean » Honduras
October 1st 2013
Published: October 1st 2013
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Just one macawJust one macawJust one macaw

I counted at least eight in one spot. The barrel below is a man-made nest.
Hola! Yesterday was my first day of Spanish school and without sounding too boastful, I suck, I really do! I think the poor gal who is my teacher (who is half my age) is wondering why she got stuck with me! I've just finished my second class and while I think I'm getting better, I'd still classify myself in the quadrant of 'mushroom'. Doesn't help when I was awoken around 3 am by what I thought were gun shots, pretty sure they were fireworks but something like that does break up a slumber... I'm pretty sure a five year old who watches Dora the Explorer could out-converse me in Spanish... But practice, practice, practice - right?

After class yesterday, I went to the ruin site just outside of town, Copan Ruinas. Upon first entering, a person is greeted by skrieking macaws. Beautiful birds, and if you'd see them in a tree at home, you'd think someone's pet had escaped, here they fly wild. They are the official bird of Honduras and they're trying to reintroduce them as their numbers were dwindling. Incidentally, they are one species of bird that mate for life and upon adulthood, you cannot tell a male from a female without a DNA test. Looks what I can learn, just not so good with the Spanish...

Brief history: Copan Ruinas dominated the region for centuries (AD 250 - 900) and at one time, held a population of over 27,000. This was ruled by 16 kings over that time but it was only the final few kings that information is known. As was tradition, kings that succeeded their fathers built onto the site by building over top a current structure. Many cities are below ground and are currently being studied by underground tunnels. Much of the structures have been overtaken by vegetation, kind of reminded me of the Temples of Angkor in Cambodia.

One game that was played here was simply known as ball game where two teams of five men each were set against each other. The goal was to keep a rubber ball that weighed four kilos in the air without the use of hands, feet or head (that 10 pound ball would break your neck for sure). Whomever was left standing at the end was declared the winner. But here, if you were the winner, you were sacrificed to the Gods. Yup, killed, you were taken to an altar and would have your head lopped off and your blood would be burned in offering. Personally, I'd be throwing the game but the winners were told they'd be accompanied and 'entertained' by virgins for all eternity. For whomever won, it was an honor. And these ball games would be watched in their Acropolis with seating all around. I don't know how often this was played, couldn't be too often since the players are trained from the age of six.

This Acropolis was huge, high up with big steps but the views were pretty spectacular. There is also the Hieroglyphics Stairs, 64 stairs I believe. What was carved onto each stair was intended to be the history of Copan, with a VERY favorable view of the current King. But when the staircase was discovered, it had toppled and the archeologists put it together incorrectly. The language used in the glyphs wasn't known at the time of re-assembly and now, it's not know what the correct order was. Pretty impressive and some glyphs are still in great shape. That's what Copan Ruinas is most known for, their hieroglyphs. Okay, enough history from this Canadian gal,

Kind of creepy in the wall face, so I had to take a picture...
see the pics 😊 Have a great day!

Additional photos below
Photos: 19, Displayed: 19


Entry into the meditation areaEntry into the meditation area
Entry into the meditation area

Unsure how peaceful a meditation I'd have with the skulls sculpted at the bottom... But in amazing condition.
Ball game anyone...?Ball game anyone...?
Ball game anyone...?

The structure to the right was the 'locker room' for the home team and left was for visitors. Apparently the goal was to hit the macaw sculpture along the top edge of the opponents 'locker' room...
Where's Waldo, kind of...Where's Waldo, kind of...
Where's Waldo, kind of...

Many stones that used to make up the structure are scattered around. If you look to the bottom right of the picture, you'll see a moss-covered skeletal type head.
Another Cieba treeAnother Cieba tree
Another Cieba tree

The Mayans believe the Cieba tree was a communcation to God with limbs growing to the sky and the roots held firmly in the ground.
Sculpture of 18 RabbitSculpture of 18 Rabbit
Sculpture of 18 Rabbit

No, 18 Rabbit is not on the statue, that is the common-known name for the King being shown. But you can see some of the original pigment on the statue, this was from 753 AD.
More remaining pigmentMore remaining pigment
More remaining pigment

and some great hierglyphics still preserved.

Still some great hierglyphics here as well.

2nd October 2013

Como estas? Another great blog, look forward to reading more.
2nd October 2013

Hello There Chickee
Those guys must have had small feet, those steps are pretty narrow. I think I'll stick to golf, that game you talked about sounds too wild for me. I wonder if they were allowed to drink beer during the game?? Take care, Russ
2nd October 2013

Thanks for sharing
Great photos, Cheryl. Didn't know you were traveling but glad to be along for the ride. Have fun, be safe, bring me something.
2nd October 2013
More remaining pigment

What is that, really....?
2nd October 2013

Thanks for sharing
Great photos, Cheryl. Didn't know you were traveling but glad to be along for the ride. Have fun, be safe, bring me something.
2nd October 2013

Nice Pics
Hi Goofy Girl - It sounds like you are enjoying the vacation, even if the Spanish is a bit of work. I enjoyed the pics, and the travelog
2nd October 2013

Incredible history!
Hi Cheryl, It is awesome to read your blog. It is very cool to see the history of this area. Keep practicing your Spanish ... you will be great! Val.
2nd October 2013

Cheryl, Glad to hear you made it safely. You have a future as a travel writer. Tonight is my first kick at the can for the board meeting; wish me luck. Lori

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