Calakmul

Cultural and natural heritage of mankind

Out of thousands of hectares of green forest stand out two enormous structures, symbols of power, majesty, culture and dominion: they are the two great pyramids of Calakmul, from which comes its name: "Two mounds together", Ca, "two" ; Lak, "together"; Mul, "mounds". They are built with bricks and mortar, a real mystery to the archeologist.

The Calakmul biosphere reserve comprises 723,000 hectares, a very important tropical Mexican reserve, home to thousands of species. There converge the most important populations of vertebrates like the jaguar, the tapir, the ocellated turkey and the white-lipped peccary. 90 species of mammals are registered; 235 of birds like toucans, chachalacas and eagles; 16 species of amphibians; 50 reptiles; 18 fish; 400 of butterflies; and more than 1,000 species of plants, among which the orchid Ryncholaelia Digbyana stands out.

To access into the archaeological zone you have to take a road and enter the heart of the jungle. After more than an hour of walking, the contact with nature is completely intimate. Everywhere you look there are only trees and plants, turkeys that walk distracted by the asphalt, dozens of iguanas and thousands of butterflies.

Walking the site in a single day is practically impossible. The INAH proposes three routes: one short, one medium and one long. However, it is estimated that the long journey takes more than ten hours, mainly because Calakmul covers an area of ​​70 square kilometers. It was one of the most important Mayan cities, the capital of a great power of the Classic period, which disputed the power of the region with the great Tikal.

Archaeological works began at the beginning of the 20th century and there have been more than 6,000 structures, including the two great pyramids (structures II and IV), which served not only as the political and religious heart of the city but as symbols of Ideological greatness and omnipotence. These temples are similar to the ziggurats of Mesopotamia.  In addition they had astronomical aims, of great importance for the agriculture, economy and the ritual calendar.

In Calakmul there are 117 stelae - the largest number anywhere in the region - and many tombs have also been recovered from vessels, masks, pectorals, earrings and jadeite necklaces, shell and seashell pieces, obsidian and stucco.

Because of its great historical, cultural, anthropological and biological wealth, UNESCO recognized Calakmul as a World Heritage Site, first in Mexico to be classified as such.

 

We recommend the virtual tour on the INAH page:

www.inah.gob.mx/paseos/Calakmul/tour.html