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TOPIC: The Ruins of Iximché

The Ruins of Iximché 8 years 3 weeks ago #2804

  • wreckdiver
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Sunday, 24 July 2011 09:40

By Tommy Vawter

Yesterday, team TreasureWorks traveled to the western Highlands of Guatemala to visit the Mayan Ruins of Iximché. These Ruins are relatively modern in comparison to many of the Classic period sites we have found in Guatemala during our eight month expedition to this beautiful Central American Country.

The Ruins of Iximché are located just 90 kilometers (56 mi) west of Guatemala City, and are located just north of the town of Tecpán. The city was built at an altitude of 2,100 meters (7,000 ft) in an easily defensible position on a ridge surrounded by deep ravines. The ridge is a promontory of Tecpán hill, a 3,075-metre (10,089 ft) high mountain to the northwest of the ruins, which sit at the southeastern end of this promontory. The ridge is flanked by two rivers flowing in deep ravines, Río El Molino and Río Los Chocoyos, which both join to flow southwest into the Madre Vieja River.

Entrance to the archaeological site will cost 50 Quetzales ($6.30), per car if you are a local. It will cost slightly more for foreigners, but I was able to pass as a local and save a couple of bucks. The archaeological site also hosts a museum, where sculptures, ceramics and other pieces found during the excavation and restoration are on display. However, the numbers of items on display are very few and relatively insignificant.

Iximché was built by the Kaqchikel Maya in 1470 after a prolonged conflict with the Kiche Maya, and forced them to abandon their previous capital Chaviar (present-day Chichicastenango). The new capital was severely damaged by a fire in 1514. In the years 1519 and 1520 a major epidemic struck Iximché, killing many inhabitants and prompting many others to flee to the countryside.

To add insult to injury the Spanish conquerors under the command of Pedro de Alvarado arrived in April 1524, just three years after the Spanish defeated the Aztecs. The first Spanish settlement on Guatemalan soil was established by Alvarado on July 25, 1524 in Iximché. It was called the City of Santiago by the Spaniards. The Spanish made Iximché the very first capital of Guatemala.

The relationship with the Spanish soon deteriorated because the Kaqchikel Maya could not produce enough gold to satisfy the Spanish conquerors.

Later that same year the Kaqchikel abandoned their capital city and took to the mountains, from where they waged a guerrilla war against the Spanish. The Spanish conquerors were able to defend their own capital for a while. In 1527 the Spanish abandoned their first capital and founded a new one in the Almolonga valley present-day Ciudad Vieja near Antigua Guatemala.

The Ruins lay undisturbed for several centuries and largely buried under lush vegetation, the ruins of Iximché were finally explored and partially excavated by Guatemalan archaeologist Jorge Guillemin from 1960 to 1972.

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Tommy on the Alter of Human Sacrifice (not my first time, but I survived yet again)

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Mayan Observatory

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Main Plaza with Temple and Observatory in background

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Descendents of the Kaqchikel Maya still worship in the Ruins today
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“Treasure – If it’s out there, we’re going to find it!” (Tommy Vawter)
Last Edit: 8 years 3 weeks ago by wreckdiver.
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Re: The Ruins of Iximché 8 years 3 weeks ago #2813

  • BigDRN
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You are very fortunate to have seen them in person!
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Re: The Ruins of Iximché 8 years 3 weeks ago #2814

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I don't know that I would trust the rest of the team enough to climb up on the altar myself!
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Re: The Ruins of Iximché 8 years 3 weeks ago #2818

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Tommy, Great pic's you do a A1 job wish we could be with you.I've only been to Chichen Itza and Tulum,thanks for sharing with us all.Mike ;) :woohoo:
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Re: The Ruins of Iximché 8 years 3 weeks ago #2829

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That Alter is not made for any type of comfort, that’s for sure…
However, I don’t think they got to many complaints.
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“Treasure – If it’s out there, we’re going to find it!” (Tommy Vawter)
Last Edit: 8 years 3 weeks ago by wreckdiver.
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Re: The Ruins of Iximché 8 years 3 weeks ago #2874

Tommy you crack me up! Your lucky some of the locals didn't come out of the jungle and say look what the gods left us on the alter "A fat gringo" fire up the BBQ.
Seriously, you get all the good gigs!
To Swim Is Human, To Dive Is SUBLIME
To bag a bug in total darkness . . . . is just the next step.
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