Xunantunich Mayan Site
Xunantunich pronounced “shoo-nahn-too-nitch” is called Maiden of the Rock. Situated on the Western Highway across the Mopan River in the village of San Jose Succotz.
Located on a natural limestone ridge, Xunantunich is approximately eight miles west of San Ignacio Town. Guests have the choice of going there by car or starting and ending the tour with an hour-long horseback ride starting at the nearby Hanna’s Stables and finishing at the banks of the Mopan River where they will enjoy a private picnic.
Xunantunich Mayan Site is a Classic Period ceremonial centre. Restricted in space, it occupies only 300 sq. metres (325 sq. yares) with elite, middle- and working-class residential structures stretching a few kilometers into the surroundings.
Furthermore the site consists of three ceremonial plazas enclosed by house mounds, pyramids and palaces. As well as the largest decorated with friezes and masks of the Classic period. Your expert guide will explain in great detail the culture and beliefs of the Maya, and you will see the ancient ball court where the Maya warriors often lost their heads whether they were the victors or losers!
Actually the most prominent structure is the pyramid “El Castillo” (The Castle) which rises 130 feet above the plaza.
As a matter of fact “El Castillo” was the tallest man-made structure in all of Belize until the discovery of “Canaa” at Caracol. The most notable feature on “El Castillo” is a remarkable stucco frieze on the east side of the structure. Three carved stelae found at the Xunantunich site are on display in the plaza.
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