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Copán Ruins: A Quick Guide to the History and Culture of the Mayas at this Magnificent Archaeological Site

Mayan Archaeology, Culture, History, and Nature are all waiting for you to explore in the Copán ruins in Honduras. The archaeological ruins are still the main tourist attractions and my reasons for visiting Honduras.

Copán Ruins History

Royal ResidenceA Spanish explorer, named Diego García de Palacio, found the archaeological ruins in 1570. When Diego discovered the Mayans, they were educated, cultured, well advanced in math, science, writing, and specifically, in architecture. Instead of trying to defeat the Mayas, Diego, an anthropologist, befriended them.

Where is Copán?

ruinsSurrounded by farmlands, rivers, and lagoons, Copán village is the artistic and cultural center of the Maya world.   It’s a three-hour bus ride from San Pedro Sula, and an eight-hour ride from Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras.

Near the border of Guatemala, on the western part of Honduras, the Ruins of Copán stands on an old city built between 400 and 800 A.D. A sacred ground and a focal center of the Mayan civilization and excavated until the 19th century.

Mayan Ruins of Copan

CopanAt the Copán Archaeological Park, you can still see the impressive stone temples, altars, hieroglyphs, and stelae. Replicas have put in place of the originals for their preservation. I was a bit disappointed not seeing some of the originals!

  • There are walking trails and plenty of wildlife such as the macaw birds lurking in the trees.
  • Several museums have collections of the artwork, artifacts, and portrayals of the Maya history.

In the Archaeological Park, you will see some amazing sculptures, colorful birds, and monuments.

Copan History

  • The Scarlet Macaw Birds – played a significant part of the ancient Maya monuments. Their feathers used as decorative accessories for the elites and traded with other Maya cities.
  • Royal Residence – consists of 25 buildings built around rectangular patios. Mainly the homes of the royal elite families. There are no cemeteries found Copán valley because the Mayas buried the dead close to home.
  • Royal Precinct – an enormous complex used for ceremony and gathering. It includes the most hieroglyphic writing. And the most elaborate sculpture in the Maya world.
  • Forest of Kings – the seven stelae and eleven altars bring out the elegance of this magnificent garden.
  • Residential Courtyards – located just south of the Copán Acropolis. It is a place where high-ranking families lived in houses clustered around the courtyards.
  • Forest Sanctuary – surrounded by tree and wildlife. The Mayas enjoyed areas with good climate and farmable land.


Tell us what you think! I would like to hear your feedback.

Happy Reading,


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  1. I love Learning more! I teach Elementary school and we completed a lesson on the Mayans in Mexic0. Knowing that extends to Honduras increased my knowledge ???? Thanks for sharing!

  2. Loved reading this. Always something interesting that I learn or can mention when I talk to others!

  3. I have always wanted to visit the ruins! I enjoyed the pictures of the Copan ruins. Honduras has a rich history of indigenous people.

  4. ohhhh im going travelling there soon, ill have to check it out!! culture and history, I am all for it. Never heard of Copan before.

  5. Interesting place, beautiful photos! I have never been to Copán village. I hope to visit Honduras one day. I love to experience history and culture.

  6. This looks like an amazing place to visit, I love all the architecture. A place with lots of history to experience with my family.

  7. I really want to visit this! Awesome pics. At first look, this reminded me of Doomsday and 2012, lol.

    • Blossawe – This is not Doomsday, but unfortunately reality that most of us never experience. According to, more than 1.3 billion live in extreme poverty, which means they may live in much worse conditions than the Chorti people.

  8. So cool. I admit, I’d probably be disappointed seeing replicas instead of the original but it still must have pretty amazing checking it all out! Thanks for sharing.

  9. I love learning about history! This was very informative!

  10. Wow such a nice place <3 I hope some day I will take the chance to visit it because it looks like Honduras has a beautiful culture.

  11. History is intriguing, so much to know about what happened in previous times in different parts of the world.

  12. Always love reading stuff like this about the beauty of Nature. With all the images and features you mentioned above about Honduas no doubt it’s a place to visit.

  13. This has just broadened my knowledge on this subject. I feel like i just finished from an history class with a wonderful teacher. Thanks.

  14. I feel like i’ve had an adventurous travel experience without leaving my house! Thank you

  15. Megha sethi

    I have keen interest in learning history. This is a very informative post. Thankyou for sharing this????

  16. Beautiful! We are going to Mexico next year and will have the opportunity to check out a few ruins too!

  17. Great article ! History is one of my favorites…love reading it. Thanks for sharing!

  18. They had an amazingly rich and beautiful culture, will follow your blog for all the updates.

  19. Nice insight into history! Beautifully captured.

  20. Great article. I have learned a lot of new things about the ruins by reading this article.
    Thanks for sharing. 🙂

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