Xunantunich – Belize

Xunantunich is an ancient Mayan city in the Cayo region of Belize that was re-discovered in the 1950s and is being excavated by archaeologists on an ongoing basis. They have not excavated a large portion of it at this time – maybe five or six of the structures (2 – 3% of the overall buildings thought to be buried under the surrounding hills and jungle) including the one in the photo below named ‘El Castillo’ have been uncovered. However, this was a major Mayan site near the end of their reign over this part of the world (around 600 AD it began to expand) as it held approximately 200,000 people near the end of the 9th century.

El Castillo – Xunantunich, Belize

El Castillo Xunantunich Belize

El Castillo sitting at 130 feet high is still the second tallest building in the entire country of Belize. Initially, when they opened this site visitors were able to go into the structure but it was damaged during an earthquake and started to split down the middle. As a result they had to fill the inside with concrete to support the structure from crumbling. This was the first site we took in during our recent trip to Belize and it certainly didn’t disappoint.


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