Mayan Architecture

mayan architecture in Mexico

Mayan architecture is said to be the conversation of the gods with man. It is marked with religious and mythical ideas. This is primarily the reason why Mayan palaces, temples and citadels were built right smack in the center of the cities.

Mayan Architecture Styles

  • Chenes
    This style of Mayan architecture is marked by columns and vertical friezes, steps, and sloping tiers on the bases, and stone mosaic adornments in the form of masks. The style also features roof crests on the front, pillar drums, latticework and panels. This style is to be found in Edzna, Labna, Kabah, Sayil, Uxmal and Hochob, with Uxmal being the most example (the Governor's Palace and the Pyramid of Magician).
  • Puuc
    Similar to the Chenes style, but with stone mosaics only on the friezes and not on the façade.
  • Maya-Toltec or Mexica
    These have some Puuc features. It also has sloping walls, stairways decorated with serpent heads at the base, high platforms and altars adorned with skulls. This can be seen in Chichen Itza, Mayapan and Tulum.
  • Palenque
    This style features stairways with sloping sides, vertical base platforms, stucco shapes on the façade, temples having two rooms – where the rear room is a shrine, and roof crests on the center wall. This style can be seen in the buildings in Palenque, Bonampak and Yaxchilan.
  • Rio Bec
    Instead of vertical platforms, this style has pyramidal bases, stone mosaic adornments, and stairways at the temple's sides. Examples of this style can be found in Rio Bec, Hormiguero and Xpuhil.
  • Peten
    This style is characterized by thick walls, ramps, terraces with steps, stucco masks adornments. The rear wall has tall roof crests and the staircases jut out from the façade. This style is seen in Calakmul.