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Xunantunich is an ancient Mayan site located in the
in the Cayo District some 80 miles (130 km) West of
Belize city. You can get here by bus or by car.
Location: 80 miles (130 km) West of
Belize city, Cayo District
Entrance Fee: BZ $15
Open 7:30am- 4pm
Description of Xunantunich
The ruins of Xunantunich are situated on top of
a ridge overlooking
that you have to cross with a ferry to get to the site. Historians
don't know the original name of the settlement. Xunantunich is a modern
name that was given by the archaeologists that means “Stone Maiden”.
pyramids and ceremonial structures in Xunantunich date back to the Maya Classical
period between 200 and 900 AD. At its heyday Xunantunich population
surpassed 200,000 residents. The earthquake around 900 AD damaged
many structures of Xunantunich causing large loss of lives. It was probably
one of the main contributing reasons for the downfall of the
metropolis. Its residents began to abandon Xunantunich as many saw
it as a bad omen from the gods of the underworld.
This notion of the haunting of Xunantunich locals
continues even today. Descendents of
the Mayan natives consider this site as haunted. Locals claim that a ghost of a woman dressed in white with red glowing
eyes visit the site at night. She walks among ruined buildings of
reaches El Castillo and walks into a stone wall.
El Castillo (the Castle) (
Castillo (the castle) is the highest pyramid in
Belize, second only to pyramid in
Caracol. It rises to 40 meters (131 feet)
above surrounding jungle. Archeological evidence suggest that it was
build in stages from 7th to 9th century AD. Beautiful frescoes adorns
the sides of the El Castillo pyramid.
As many Mayan
cities Xunantunich did not preserve houses of the common people. They
were too small and made of wood so they rotted away fairly quickly in a
humid hot climate. However judging by stone remains of temples and
palaces the city encompassed an area of about 1 square mile (2.6 sq. km)
with 6 ceremonial plazas that had 26 temples and palaces.
was performed on this place by the Mayan priests. Pool was used for
collection of sacrificial blood.
found that is protected today against weather. Dated back to first
century AD it depicts a human figure.