Mayan civilisation was extended over three thousand years and is generally considered the longest lasting and the most magnificent civilisation of the Mesoamerican region. Its peak came during what is known as the Classic Period of the civilisation from 250AD to 900AD. During this period, the Mayans built grand architecture in the form of temples, palaces, pyramids, and other kinds of buildings. However, after 900AD, the Mayan civilisation collapsed almost abruptly for which the archaeologists suggest various reasons. The Mayan ruins are the remains of this bygone civilisation and its city states that were once thriving urban centres.
The Mayan ruins are located throughout the Mesoamerican region, extending into several countries of Central America. The present-day countries where Mayan ruins are abundantly found include Guatemala, Belize, and parts of Honduras and El Salvador. Further, some Mayan ruins are also found in southeastern states of Mexico from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec eastwards. This also includes the entire Yucatán Peninsula. While this entire region was included in the Mayan civilisation, it was not bound into a unified empire and instead consisted of independent city states which were often at war with each other.
The city of Cancun is southeastern Mexico is an important site of Mayan ruins. The ruins here are, however, not as extensive as some other sites in the region. The most substantial site of Mayan ruins in the region is El Menco which is located on the mainland just outside the city limits on the road north to Punta Sam. The Cancun ruins are mainly located outside the main city. The name Cancun first appeared in the 18th century maps and it is not clear whether it has Maya origins. According to some colonial sources, the place was known to its Mayan inhabitants as Nizuc.
Belize has a variety of well documented and important Mayan ruins and archaeological sites. The area of Belize was part of southern Maya lowlands which particularly flourished during the Classic Period. For instance, one of the most important sites of Mayan ruins in Belize is Caracol, located in western Belize near the border of Guatemala. This was one of the largest Mayan urban centres and today consists of thousands of ancient structures. This was also one of those cities that defeated Tikal, arguably the most powerful Mayan city during the Classic Period. Other Mayan ruins in Belize include Cerros, Lamanai, Altun Ha, Cuello, La Milpa, and others.
One of the most important sites of Mayan ruins is Tulum which served as a major port for Mayan urban centre, Coba. The ruins are located along the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula on the Caribbean Sea. The site was a thriving port during the Post-Classic Period of Mayan civilisation and reached its height between the 13th and 15th centuries. It even managed to survive for over 70 years after the Spanish occupation of Mexico. Some important architectural sites of this place include Pyramid El Castillo, God of Winds Temple, Temple of the Frescos, and others.
Among the largest sites of Mayan ruins, Chichen Itza is particularly noteworthy. Chichen Itza is located in the Yucatan State of Mexico and was among the latest urban centres of the Mayans during the Late Classic, Terminal Classic, and even early Post-Classic Period. Other than being one of the largest cities, it was also one of those cities which had a very diverse population. Some of the most important Mayan ruins on this site include the Temple of Kukulkan also known as El Castillo, The Great Ball Court, The Skull Platform, The Platform of Venus, The Temple of the Tables, and others.
Coba is a large site of ancient Mayan ruins located in the state of Quintana Roo of Mexico. According to the archaeological evidence, the city was founded between 100BC and 100AD and for a while remained a small town with wooden buildings. Population grew stronger after 100AD and eventually it became an important urban centre. It reached its peak between 200AD and 600AD, during which it is estimated to have a population of over 50,000 inhabitants, but also continued to be an important city for a long time after that. This site of Mayan ruins contains several large temple pyramids the tallest of which is 42 meters high.
There are many important Mayan ruins located all over the Mesoamerican region. One of the best and most important Mayan ruins is the Tikal National Park in Guatemala which has been declared the UNESCO Heritage of Humanity. Tikal was probably the most important city state of Mayan civilisation during the Classic Period and had a population of over 90,000 inhabitants at its peak. It was founded by the Tikal dynasty in 1st century AD. The site has a variety of architectural structures including palaces, pyramids, causeways, burials, and others. Another very important site of Mayan ruins in Copan located in Honduras and housing a number of well preserved temples, palaces, and very detailed stone sculptures.
A lot of Mayan ruins still exist, particularly those that were once the thriving urban centres of Mayan civilisation. This includes the ruins of Tikal, Chichen Itza, Coban, and other cities. Some of the structures on these Mayan ruins are in a remarkably well preserved form and continue to attract millions of tourists from all over the world every year. This includes a variety of temples, pyramids, palaces, and Mayan sculpture.
Mayan ruins are scattered all over the Mesoamerican region which today incorporates various countries of Central America. The ruins can be seen on a variety of sites in countries such as Guatemala and Belize as well as southeastern Mexico and western portions of Honduras and El Salvador. This region was the site of the Mayan civilisation, particularly during the Classic Period which was the peak of the Mayan civilisation during which various urban centres thrived at this location.