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Location DB > Mexico > Yucatán > Temozón > Ek Balam
Ek Balam
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created by -Rio- on 6/8/2015 2:46 AM
last modified by -Rio- on 6/8/2015 5:36 AM
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The startling and amazingly well-preserved sculptures uncovered at Ek Balam are exciting. Dating from 100 BC to its height at 700-1,200 BC, it is unlike any other Mayan site. Ek Balam has a feel all its own.

The main temple here is impressive, both in size and architecture. Its massive size of over 500 feet long and 200 feet wide easily makes it one of the largest structures ever excavated in the Yucatan. It is so big that one wonders how this could have been built without the aid of iron or the wheel. The intricate detail of the artistry and symbolism incorporated into the frescoes and sculptures decorating this temple are an artistic marvel.

Ek Balam´s most striking temple is one with a huge ¨monster mouth¨. To the Maya this represents a portal to the ¨other world¨. The enormous mouth of the Witz Monster (entry to the underworld), complete with teeth, is awe-inspiring.

Evidence has been found at Ek Balam that blood letting rituals were practiced here. This was self-inflicted by the priest and nobles. Some suggest that one of the human figures depicted above the mouth is in the posture of a defeated enemy about to be sacrificed, so it may also be a site of human sacrifice but to what extent they are not sure yet.

The sculpted works of the Maya ruins at Ek Balam are unusual and extremely well preserved. Some figures are winged, some in the meditative ¨lotus¨ position, one sits headless above the center of the monster mouth. All are beautiful and exquisitely crafted.

Ek Balam also has a very beautiful arch connecting to a sacbe (ancient road). In ancient times, these sacbes connected the Maya kingdoms . The arch is found where these sacbes intersect the entrance to the city. Ek Balam has many sacbes that connect to other Maya cities such as its neighbor, Chichen Itzá.

There is not much information available to the general public about Ek Balam yet, but the archaeologists working there are very excited about what they are finding. They hope to work their way down a subterranean stairway. You can imagine their anticipation as they uncover more fascinating glimpses of the ancient world of the Maya.

At the summit of the major temple at the ruins one can see for miles, on a clear day even as far as Cobá, 30 miles away. Raised sacbes stretch out in each direction, testimonies to the high civilization achieved by the ancient Maya. With sculptures and representations unique among all Mayan sites and its majestic palace and grounds, Ek Balam seems literally untouched by time. In terms of art and architecture, this is a site that is sure to change our fundamental concepts of the ancient Maya.
 Basic Information
Type: ruined city
Status: Active, cost 122 pesos to get in.
Accessibility: Easy
Recommendation: worth the trip
 Physical Information

Temozón, Yucatán
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  •  Hazards
     Interesting Features

     Security Measures
  • part-time guard
  • locked gates
  •  Historical Dates
    Built: 770
    Closed: 1100
     Required Equipment
  • water
  •  Recommended Equipment
    Ek' Balam was occupied from the Middle Preclassic through the Postclassic, although it ceased to thrive as a major city past the Late Classic. Beginning in the Late Preclassic, the population grew and the city expanded throughout the following periods. It eventually became the capital of the polity that controlled the region around the beginning of the Common Era.

    At its height from 770 to 840 CE, Ek' Balam provides a rich resource of information for understanding northern Classic cities, due to the poor preservation of many other notable northern Maya sites (e.g. Coba, Izamal, and Edzna). It was during this height that the Late Yumcab ceramic complex (750-1050/1100 CE) dominated the architecture and pottery of Ek’ Balam. The population decreased dramatically, down to 10% of its highest, during the Postclassic period as Ek’ Balam was slowly becoming vacant. There are several theories to why it was eventually abandoned and to the degree of haste at which it was abandoned (see: Defensive Walls).

    Ek Balam is mentioned in a late-sixteenth century Relación Geográfica, an official inquiry held by the colonial government among local Spanish landowners. It is reported to have belonged to a kingdom called 'Talol', founded by a Ek' Balam, or Coch Cal Balam, who had come from the East. Later, the region was dominated by the aristocratic Cupul family.
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    November 2014
    Mon, Jun 8th, 2015
    posted by -Rio-
    20 pictures

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     Moderator Rating
    The moderator rating is a neutral rating of the content quality, photography, and coolness of this location.

    Category Rating
    Photography 9 / 10
    Coolness 9 / 10
    Content Quality 9 / 10
    This location's validation is current. It was last validated by Mike Dijital on 6/8/2015 1:30 PM.

     Latest Changes
  • on Jun 8 15 at 13:30, Mike Dijital validated this location
  • on Jun 8 15 at 5:36, -Rio- made this location available
  • on Jun 8 15 at 5:32, -Rio- updated gallery picture El Trono
  • on Jun 8 15 at 5:31, -Rio- updated gallery picture the Acropolis
  • on Jun 8 15 at 5:28, -Rio- updated gallery picture
  • on Jun 8 15 at 5:27, -Rio- updated gallery picture The ballcourt
  • on Jun 8 15 at 5:26, -Rio- updated gallery picture The Oval Palace
  • on Jun 8 15 at 5:25, -Rio- updated gallery picture The Entrance Arch
  • on Jun 8 15 at 5:24, -Rio- updated gallery picture
  • on Jun 8 15 at 5:24, -Rio- updated gallery picture the temple
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