Monday, September 5, 2011


One of only three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Guatemala.

We've been to the Maya Quirigua Ruins. Restoration was conducted by the University of Pennsylvania in the 1930’s. Thatched roof structures have been made to try and protect the stelaes from further deterioration.

In the Gran Plaza Maya this minor site has eleven stelae—fabulous stone carvings in sandstone.

And 300 morphs-sculptures depicting animals.

These stelae and morphs explain much of the history of the maya people. Dating back to AD737 the Maya leader Cauac Sky (Two legged sky) captured and sacrificed Copan’s ruler- Eighteen Rabbit. To celebrate his success he rebuilt and expanded Quirigua , commissioning the carving of the largest stelae, this 25 foot tall stelae which depicts Cauac Sky himself.

 A small acropolis to the south---this was used by the rulers as residences.

What we saw here was the project from the last ruler of Quirigua- Jade Heaven who ruled between 800-810AD.

 Michelle, Marco and myself.

These stelae were carved back in 653AD with the help of Copans artisans---using beds of brown sandstone brought in from the Rio Motagua.  The sandstone was soft when first cut allowing the artisans to create these very detailed carvings, which told a story.  Over time the sandstone hardened.

Rio Motagua historically was a crucial trade route as this area held the largest jade deposits in the entire Maya region.

 I had no idea there are so many colours of jade.


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