Sunday, April 20, 2014

Copan Ruinas, Honduras

 Well, my dad is in Central America to visit us this week - and we have a jam packed week with him. Today, we are in Copan Ruinas, Honduras. My dad really wanted to see some Mayan ruins, so we thought this would be a great place to start our sightseeing.

He flew into Guatemala City around 9:00 on Friday night, and we left Saturday morning at 5:00 to come to Honduras. Copan is on the border (about 6 kilometers from Guatemala) so it actually isn't as far as it seems - although it was about 5 hours on the bus. Once we got to Copan we walked around the town, got lunch and introduced my dad to life in Latin America. We ended up relaxing at our hotel, laying in the hammocks and catching up for a few hours that afternoon, and went out at night to a celebration in the center - which actually just turned out to be crowds of people doing nothing, and a handful of girls (mostly tourists) dancing under strobe lights. 
Today we spent the day at the ruins. There is quite a bit to see out there. Copan is known for their intricate hieroglyphics and carvings. The structures aren't as high as the other ruins in Guatemala and Mexico - but they cover a larger area and the stelas (totem pole type carvings) are amazing.  

Coming from Idaho - my dad really wanted a warm climate - and we definitely got it. It has been beautiful (and hot) here in Honduras. We are warm weather people so we have been soaking it up!

Copan is also known for having the longest hieroglyph in all of pre-columbian MesoAmerica. This is the staircase that is filled with hieroglyphics - literally every single step. Caitlin read that they only uncovered the first 7 or 8 steps in tact, then had to reconstruct the rest of them as they found the bricks all around the original structure. 

A few of the stelas.

Since these sights were uninhabited for so many years, trees have grown out of many of the buildings, and the roots have caused the destruction of many different buildings. As much as I love nature, this really makes me sad that so many of the buildings are ruined by trees. 

There are tunnels in a lot of the ruins, and according to the signs we read, there are buildings built upon buildings, built upon buildings. So depending on the ruler the archeologists have found different buildings under the earth. 

In Copan there are the palaces of the royalty and elite, but there are also houses that were for common folk. They have also found many bodies that are buried in the fetal position (about 145 bodies). These people are buried outside of their houses with offerings. 

My dad found one of the workers brooms and thought it looked like a hula skirt. Having him here has been a blast! 

The macaw is also very important to the Copan Mayans, and they have it depicted in many of their carvings/sculptures. We were lucky enough to see a handful of them. These two were just chilling at the base of a tree, so we watched them for a few minutes before they flew away. 

They had water, and bathrooms in the royal palace - and we even went into their sauna to snap a quick picture. :) The ruins are right next to a river, so they were big into irrigation. 

A lot of the sights also had weird holes in the ground - but there were no signs to indicate what they were. There also weren't any signs that said to keep out. :)

We ended the day with a tuk tuk ride and dinner at a delicious restaurant. Now we are on our way back to Guatemala to do some more sight seeing. This trip is already going by too quickly. We are off to Semuc Champey next. It looks pretty gorgeous, and we (and our feet) are excited to relax for a few days before heading off to Tikal.

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