Copan Maya Ruins
Home to the Mayan's most beautiful
By 1200 A.D. Copan was just another jungle ruin. It eventually was viewed as worthless farmland, difficult to plow because of all the bothersome stone structures and stelae.
In 1839 the site was sold to American diplomat John Lloyd Stevens for $50. Harvard University's Peabody Museum began serious excavation in 1891.
And what wonders they discovered.
The Great Plaza contains the majority of stelae, most built between 711-736 A.D. by the ruler known (much to the delight of children) as 18 Rabbit; his distinctively Asiatic features are startling.
Circumstantial evidence of the Maya blood lust is found near the edge of the Ball Court where several stone-carved skulls perch on temple remains: Copan was not a place to get cut from a ball team.
The Museum of Mayan Sculpture houses the park's most colorful structure, a full-size replica of the Rosalila temple discovered completely covered and encased by another temple built over top of it.
If, as experts
say, the Rosalila's dark red paint and its stucco figures of white,
green and yellow are a sample of how all Copan once looked, the region
must have been as dazzlingly colorful as the leaves during a fall color