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Copan Ruins are located in the western part of Republic of Honduras, Central America in the Department
of Copan. The capital of this Department is the city of Santa Rosa de Copan, formerly known as "Los Llanos".
Copan is the archeological city located south of the whole geographic area, and it is where the great Mayan Civilization developed and flourished. (The area is 325,000 square kilometers and comprises the southeastern part of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and part of El Salvador).
San Jose de Copan, situated one kilometer from the principal group of ruins in this archeological zone, is a modern town which was founded during the last century and at present is called “COPAN RUINS”, or “RUINAS DE COPAN”. It has a population of about 3,000 inhabitants and has a decidedly colonial aspect. The town has a good electric service, good drinking water and hotels.
Welcome to Copan. As you enter the Copan Ruins you are first greeted with an informative visitor's center.
Be sure not to miss the entrance! This is a picture of the sign on the side of the road torwards the
enterance of the Copan Ruins.
Click on the above picture to check inside the Visitor Center.
Click on the above picture to enter the Ruins Page
This is the way to the Copan Ruins
Click on the above picture to enter the museum of Copan.
Click here to see the plaque on the side of the entrance
This is the entrance into the museum.
ORIGIN OF THE NAME “COPAN”
Lic. Doc. Don Diego García de Palacios, Member of the Royal Audience of Guatemala, on March 8, 1576,
wrote to Philip II of Spain, giving him descriptions of the Ruins, which is considered as the first
written account of these remarkable Ruins.
Most of the archeological Mayan sites today bear the name given to them by their discoverers.
The case of Copan is different. It can not be asserted that this was the name under which the city
originated, developed and flourished, but according to Palacios’ letter we can be sure that it was
known by such a name during the sixteenth century.
Investigators have not yet agreed upon the etymology of the word “Copan”. Several translations
have been offered regarding its meaning such as “bridge”, “Capital of Co”, and others say it comes
from the Nahuatl language, and they add the ending “tl”, thus converting it into “Copantl”, which means
“ pontoon or bridge”.
THE GREAT HUMAN FACES
Temple # 11 was inaugurated in the year 763 AD. The great human faces which are seen on the East
and West sides, are the only remains of the outside decorations. They correspond to the enormous bulky
sculptures which decorate the corners on the North side. Those on the south side were also decorated
with gigantic crocodile sculptures with their faces in a downward position. These are found among the
material accumulated at the Court entrance. As seen here on this web page, one of the gigantic crocodile
sculptures can be seen in this page’s background.
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