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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Quirigua Archeological Park in Guatemala

Quirigua Archeological Park in Izabel, Guatemala was abandoned around the 10th century. The rulers of Quirigua's rulers were rich beyond imagination on the areas natural resources, the most lucrative being jade. The earliest of the ruins date back to 550, although archeologists believe the site was inhabited before that time.

Quirigua's stonework shares many of the same characteristics as the Copan Ruins in Honduras. The civilization was much smaller, and therefore considered less important in the Mayan world.It wasn't until the ruler of Quirigua captured Copan's leader, that Quirigua earned its independence. The civilization of Copan at that time lost all dominance over Quirigua.

The site itself wasn't rediscovered by Europeans until the 18th century.  By the 20th century, however, the United States-owned the United Fruit Company. As a result, the ruins, including the world's best pre-Columbian stelae, are surrounded by fruit plantations.

There are nine ornately carved stelae, the tallest being 36 feet high. Nearby, there is a ruined pyramid and several stone carvings. Like many pre-Columbian sites, there are altars and stelae decorated with images portraying humans with unusual features and several different species of animals. Oddly, Quirigua is most famous for its zoomorphs, which are depictions of creatures that are half man and half animal.

Click on the images to see the civilization of Copan in Honduras.

Picture Sources


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