When you think of Mayan architecture, you probably picture tall stone temples with lots of steep stairs. What you may not know is that there are meanings and purposes behind their structures and cities. Nearly everything the Mayans built was precisely situated and intentionally designed. In Coba, Mexico you can walk in an ancient city and see the stone structures for yourself while learning all about Mayan architecture and culture.
What Was the Mayan’s Architecture Like?
The Mayans built with local materials like sandstone and limestone, and even created a form of cement using burnt limestone. The outer walls of their buildings contained carved images and sculptures, while the inside walls were covered with murals honoring battles, rulers, and religion.
Cities were designed according to topography and carefully designed plans. Larger buildings were often on higher ground and connected to the rest of the structures with elevated roads and pathways. Buildings were also situated to maximize sunlight and to correspond with solstices and equinoxes. They also usually had good views of the plazas or ballcourts for events. The designs used by their Mesoamerican ancestors played an influential role as well.
The large pyramids were mainly used for religious ceremonies and sacrifices, and as tombs for rulers and their spouses. They also held tombs for those who had been sacrificed and for storing precious items. These large pyramids were built to resemble mountains, which were sacred to the Mayan people. Palaces contained carvings on the doorways to resemble rulers, or in the image that represented the mouth of a sacred cave, or portals to other worlds.
What Was Coba Used For?
The ancient city of Coba appears to have been a bustling and important trade center. It is made up of a network of “sacbe,” or white limestone elevated roadways, connecting the major buildings and the residential areas. One road even connects to Yaxuna, roughly 60 miles away. The Castillo temple is located in the main group of structures and the temple of Nohoch Mul are along the road to Yaxuna. There are more than 30 engraved stelae (upright stones) with hieroglyphic images and writing about rituals, roles of power, style of dressing, and life in Coba, Mexico.
How to Visit Coba
No trip to Mexico is complete without a visit to the ancient Coba ruins. See the Mayan architecture up close and learn about the history and culture from a knowledgeable local guide with these tours from Cancun Adventures.
Express Coba Tour
The Express Coba Tour is a great way to fit a visit into a single afternoon. You’ll get to see and climb the pyramids at Nohoch Mul, the tallest of which is 42 meters, or 138 feet tall! The view from the top is unlike any other, so don’t forget to bring a camera. You’ll also get to walk through the city of Coba and learn about the Mayans way of life from an expert bilingual tour guide.
Tulum & Coba Private Tour
The beautiful city of Tulum is approximately 1,000 years old and is the only Mayan architecture site in the area with an overlook of the ocean. With the Tulum and Coba Private Tour, you can visit the famous cliffside castle in Tulum, explore the Coba ruins and temples, and delve into the rich history and culture of the Mayan people. You’ll also get to see nearby tropical jungle trails, cenotes (natural sinkholes), and sandy beaches.
Coba & Reef Adventure
The Coba and Reef Adventure is the perfect combination of exploring ancient Mayan civilizations and snorkeling in a stunning coral reef. Climb to the top of Nohoch Mul, swim with tropical fish, and spend the rest of the day relaxing at our exclusive Punta Venado beach club, where you’ll also be treated to lunch.
Book With Cancun Adventures
Set up your own adventure to the ancient Coba ruins, where you can explore the Mayan architecture and walk where the Mayans once walked. Contact Cancun Adventures to get started today!