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HONDURAS.NET team with the guide This avenue also leads to the Ceremonial Court which is also known as the Main Court. This picture on the left shows the team with our guide in front of the avenue leading towards the Ceremonial Court. The court is a large quadrangle stadium or amphitheater flanked on three sides by stairways, each measuring 75 meters in length. The southern side was left open, but later on they constructed a base and pedestal in the center with steps along four sides and topped of by a terrace, which was possibly used as a special grandstand.


Starting at the Guard’s quarters, and crossing the field, one enters an elegant avenue, flanked on both sides by conical mounds which can be seen among the trees and which are still covered by earth. These are in reality temple foundations. The Court holds some sculptures, vertical in shape made in stone columns. These are known as “Stella” and are directly connected with smaller sculptures, either rectangular or circular, known as “Altars”.
Go down and check it out! Mayan estela compared to the size of a person
Click on the picture to hear what he's thinking.
Go down and check it out!
The various Stella, nine in number, are distributed about the court and it is yet unknown whether their placement corresponds to a determined order. It is well to explain that almost all the Stella which constitute the principal group, still remain in their original site, that is, where the Mayas erected them. Many of these monuments had fallen, were buried, broken or at least inclined. A careful study of their base was made when these Stella were being restored. All the Stella, without exception, are placed over a cruciform masonry vault, which is concealed by a rectangular platform constructed of carved stone blocks, at the base of each monument. These cruciform vaults were apparently intended for the deposit of religious offerings, which in most cases consisted of crude clay vessels, but jade beads, as well as fish and bird bones, etc., were also found inside these vaults.
13 Rabits This is one side of an estela made showing Eighteen Rabits, a famous Mayan ruler. On the left the young Eighteen Rabits can be seen with a childish face. Various symbols described by our guide on these estelas demonstrated that this side of the estela described the sunrise or the symbolic birth of Eighteen Rabits. On the right, the older Eighteen Rabits ruler can be seen with a grown beard, more mature and powerful. This side also demonstrated the dawn or death of Eighteen Rabits. 13 Rabits from the other side
One may observe the construction system used at the time, formed by carved stones and which is still employed today. While studying the drainage system, it was found that its construction belongs to different eras and that it was adequate to carry the volume of water drained from the structures to the Copan River.

Sacrifice stone

In the middle of the Square there is a prominent altar in spherical form, flat at the poles, and which has been called “Sacrifice Stone” or “Altar”. On top it has a small circular opening from which two canals originate on opposite sides, which were possibly the outlets for the liquid that accumulated in the cavity. The middle of the altar is decorated with some sort of twisted rope, which could easily be taken for a serpent. The rest of the altar is flat. These are pictures of it.
Sacrifice stone
Our guide next to a Mayan estela
Our guide, inside a structure explaining its construction
Our guide describing the type of construction inside one of the ruins
Interesting estela about a spaceship Unofficial stories say that this ruin contains information about space ships used at the time of the Mayas. If it were true, it would explain how the Mayas were capable of building these great monuments made of extreamly heavy rock.

The stairways on the three remaining sides are in groups of 3, separated by a narrow landing and topped by a terrace. If the steps were intended to be used as seats for spectators, it is easy to determine that the amphitheater could seat some 50,000 people.

A view of the city of Copan
Many beautiful scence like these can be explored at Copan.

This stately and sober aggregate of sculptures is situated between the Central or Middle Court and the Hieroglyphic Stairway. The ball court or grounds is built in the shape of a thick “I”, surrounded by slanting benches ending in a small vertical wall in the upper part. Both the floor and the benches are covered with large carved stones, formerly covered with stucco. The Ball Court or playing alley is 28.41 meters long and 7 meters wide. The sloping platforms are 7 meters wide and 80 cms., high. In the middle part of the alley there are 3 carved rectangular stone blocks which are known as “markers”.

This is a fantastic view of a part of an old mistical city.


This magnificent structure is located East of the Court which has the same name and it is considered as one of the most remarkable and interesting monument built by the Mayas during the Classic Period. It contains 63 steps or stairs, each one carved with hieroglyphic on the cants. At the time of discovery, ten steps from the base were found completely, “in situ”, and five more partially destroyed. It measured 10 meters in width including the balustrades or banisters, and 20.76 meters in height, above the Court level. The banisters or balustrades on either side of the Stairway are 1.20 meters wide, decorated with serpentine and bird-like motifs. The composition of these decorations appears to represent “the celestial Monster”. Home page | Copan home page | Ruins page | Copan Museum | Copan visitor Center | Extra pictures from Copan


Courtesy of the Honduran Institute of History and Anthropology