Images from Copán

In 2007, I was invited to Honduras to attend the official launch of an English-language business magazine about Central America.  During that trip, the editor-in-chief and I spent a day in Copán, one of the well-known sacred sites of the ancient Maya. 

Much more than the business meetings, this trip remains indelibly carved into my heart as one of the most striking face-to-face encounters with the ancient Maya culture I have been privileged to experience.

~ Birgitte Rasine

Click on the images below to see the larger views.

First sight of the Great Plaza at Copán
The Great Plaza, built by Waxaklahun-Ubah-K'awil (18 Rabbit), the thirteenth king of the Copán dynasty.
Stela 4, portraying Waxaklahun-Ubah-K'awil (18 Rabbit) as a ballplayer.
The principal altar for Stela 4.  Our Mayan guide told us this “altar” was used to decapitate losing ballplayers in ritual.
The carved glyph of Eleven Ahau; a detail on one of the stelae in the Great Plaza.
A detail of a glyph on one of the stelae in the Great Plaza.  Not being a Mayan scholar, I could not quite make out which one…
A detail of a glyph on one of the stelae in the Great Plaza.  Not being a Mayan scholar, I could not quite make out which one…
Stela A, portraying 18 Rabbit receiving a message from the deified soul of his ancestor, the sun god.
Stela B, portraying 18 Rabbit on the threshold of the portal of the underworld.  An awe-inspiring sculpture.
A detail of Stela B.  The original red paint that once adorned all of the stelae, has bled faint... but traces still remain.
Altar at Stela D.  From this side of the altar we see the skeletal face of a monster representing the Earth.
Stela H, depicting 18 Rabbit as the Maize God dancing during the moment of the Fourth Creation.
Ball Court, detail.  Three of these carved macaw heads adorn the upper rim of each of the two ramps of the Ball Court.
Carved sculpture of a macaw on the Eastern face of the Ball Court, overseeing the playing area.  This is a restored composite.
The Hieroglyphic Stairway, commemorating Copán Rulers 1 – 15.  This is the longest known glyphic text ever found in a Maya site.
Copán Ruler 12 gazes out at us from the Hieroglyphic Stairway through an open-jawed war mask. His tomb lies inside the Stairway.
View of the Ball Court A-III from Central Plaza
A rich, moss-covered branch of the Ceiba tree.  For the Maya, the Ceiba, which they called Yaxche, was the revered Tree of Life.
Detail of an animalistic head or mask on the walls of one of the temples at Copán.
The gigantic head of a Pauahtun, a mythical being part man and part crocodile, on the ground at the Eastern base of Temple 11.
High view of Ball Court A-III, in size second only to the Great Ball Court at Chichén Itza.
The decorative corner of one of the temples at Copán
Gateway to the East Court of Temple 22.  Built by 18 Rabbit, it is considered one of the finest works of the Maya.
Passing along the outer rim of the ruins complex, I came upon this magnificent relief of a figure wielding a large sword.
Altar Q, depicting the 16 kings of Copán. Here Ruler 1, Yax Kuk Mo’, passes the emblem of office to the last king, Yax Pasah.