10 Fascinating Facts About Mayan Ruin Iximche, Guatemala
The ruins of Iximche Guatemala are a small archeological site in the western highlands of Guatemala. This hidden gem about two hours away from Guatemala City holds much importance for the history of not only Guatemala but all of Central America. That’s why these Mayan ruins were declared a national monument in the 1960s.
Read this article to dig out some fascinating information about the Iximche Mayan ruins in Guatemala!
A Brief History of Iximche
Between the late 1400s and early 1500s, Iximche was the capital city of the Kaqchikel Maya. For many years, the Kaqchikel and another Mayan tribe called the K’iche got along but eventually they started to have some conflicts.
The Kaqchikel tribe had to flee to a more secure region. They moved to a ridge surrounded by ravines for safety, and that is how Iximche was founded.
The location of Iximche helped protect the Kaqchikel until the Spanish conquerors reached Mexico and they started to have serious problems. Conquistador Pedro de Alvarado arrived in 1524 and started to make abusive and excessive demands of his Kaqchikel hosts. They left the city that had been declared the first capital of the Kingdom of Guatemala. It was burned to the ground two years later.
They moved to another Kaqchikel town not far from Iximche, where hostilities continued. In 1530, the Kachikel surrendered, and the Spanish conquerors founded a new capital without the Maya people. This site, now known as Ciudad Vieja, is close to Antigua Guatemala.
Bonus: check out Radio Iximche and listen to the Kaqchikel language.
10 Fascinating Facts About Mayan Ruin Iximche, Guatemala
Because Iximche Guatemala originally belonged to the Mayan civilization, it is full of wonder and is considered sacred by many due to the rituals and ceremonies that were held there.
Let’s explore more fascinating facts about these ruins and photos of this magical place called Iximche!
1. Iximche Guatemala was rediscovered.
After laying dormant for countless generations, Iximche Guatemala was rediscovered in the 17th century by an explorer. Excavations and studies at the site continued until the 1940s. Archaeologists continue to discover the remains of rituals performed by the Maya.
2. Iximche was a hiding place.
The Kaqchickel chose this spot because it served as a hiding place. It was used as such not only by the ancient Maya but also by guerrillas in the 20th century. It’s now a peaceful archaeological site that includes a small museum and stone structures used for ceremonies.
3. It used to be called Quauhtemallan.
When the Spanish conquistadors took the city, they changed its name to Quauhtemallan. It later evolved into Guatemala, which eventually became the name of the country. The name means forested lands.
Four plazas have been partially excavated. The whole site has open fields with views of the former building blocks. Over the centuries, nature has taken back one of the most important Mayan cities.
4. Iximche has a small museum.
Iximche Guatemala features a small museum with artifacts, maps, interesting historical information, and human remains that were uncovered by archeologists.
5. What remains are ceremonial ares, temples, and ball courts.
What remains in Iximche Guatemala? Well, because it was burned down, it was difficult to excavate. What remains are the structures built by the Maya, including ball courts, ceremonial areas, and temples.
Iximche gives you a look into how this fascinating civilization lived. Historians believe that human sacrifice was involved in some of their rituals.
6. President Bush visited Iximche.
In March 2007, U.S. President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush visited Iximche Guatemala. They were greeted with a marimba band, a Mayan ball game demonstration, and traditional Mayan dances.
7. Most visitors are of Mayan descent.
Even though these ruins are a popular tourist site, the majority of visitors to Iximche Guatemala are Mayan. To this day, they perform ceremonies on these sacred grounds. You may even witness a Mayan ritual when you visit!
8. Offerings include flowers, sugar, and cinnamon.
Even today, people bring cacao, chocolate, sugar, cinnamon, spices, flowers, and water as offerings to the Mayan gods and spirits. During a prayer ceremony, people start fires filled with offerings where they pray for guidance, protection, and healing.
9. It’s a sacred site for Mayan ceremonies.
Participating in a Mayan ceremony is a fascinating experience. During the Mayan ceremonies history comes alive. People who have witnessed these ceremonies say that they are authentic, full of energy, and unforgettable. The ceremonies at Iximche usually take place in an outdoor plaza so that the participants can be connected to nature.
10. Iximche is a national monument.
Iximche is a national monument in Guatemala. Altars used for present-day Mayan ceremonies are dotted all over Iximche. It’s a place that has earned the respect of locals and tourists alike.
When you learn about Mayan traditions and history, you’ll likely be compelled to visit these unique sites for yourself. They have a powerful energy and a strong connection to this fascinating civilization that continues to draw tourists from all over the world!
Map of Iximche Guatemala
Check out this aerial map of Iximche Guatemala! Clicking the link takes you to Google Earth so you can see the ruins for yourself before you travel there.
Travel to Guatemala and Connect with the Maya
The Maya civilization is full of wonder, wisdom, and connection to the Earth. When you visit Guatemala, you won’t just travel abroad, you’ll have an unforgettable experience full of history and magic.
The ruins of Iximche have preserved their beauty and visiting this sacred ground is most definitely a must! Not only will it be an unforgettable experience but it will also help you advance in your Spanish-speaking goals.
Another incredible reason to learn Spanish is to become a translator or interpreter and travel for a living! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, interpreters and translators are among the top five fastest-growing occupations, with opportunities expected to increase by 46% between 2012 and 2022. So, why not learn Spanish and advance your career?
There’s no better time than now! Sign up for a free trial class at Homeschool Spanish Academy to practice Spanish before your trip to Iximche and take your Spanish skills to the next level with the help of a certified, native-speaking teacher from Guatemala.
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