Events in Belize

Filter Events by Sub-Category

Please select a Date first.

Search for a company in Belize

Debug

Welcome

Login to your account below, if you do not have an account, select Register.

Or Login with your preferred Social Media Account

Sign in with Facebook Sign in with Twitter Sign in with Google

Register your account below, if you already have an account, select Login.

Xunantunich

Gazing out over the Mopan River Valley, stands Xunantunich, one of Belize’s most beautiful and mysterious ancient Maya Sites.

  1. Xunantunich
 
Gazing out over the Mopan River Valley, stands Xunantunich, one of Belize’s most beautiful and mysterious ancient Maya Sites. The site’s modern name, pronounced zoo-nan-tun-ich, means ‘stone woman’. It references a local legend of a ghostly belle adorned in white, scaling the steps of El Castillo before disappearing into the stone face at the top.
 
El Castillo
El Castillo, the most prominent structure at Xunantunich, towers over the central plaza and faces the North. This structure is known best for the exquisite stucco friezes flanking its east and west sides. The glyphs represented there are also known to symbolize the sun, the moon, and Venus; three celestial bodies that play major roles in the cosmology of the ancient Maya.

All visible with the naked eye, the movements of these bodies were understood and charted by the ancient Maya with patent precision. The Dresden Codex, an ancient scripture of Mayan origin, details the positions of Venus over a period exceeding 100 years.
 
Xunantunich - Frontal View

The Structure
The importance of the cycles of the stars and planets were paramount to the ancient Maya. This is also portrayed in their building practices. Moreover, Xunantunich is one of many Maya sites, which contains a fascinating building style, known among researchers as an E-Group. Structures were built in a row of three along a north-south axis, with another facing them from a distance. From this fourth structure, often set in the west, one can watch as the sun rises directly over the central structure at the equinox, or over one of the outer structures during the summer and winter solstices.
 
The ancient Maya celebrated this east/ west alignment as it represented life, death, and rebirth. In classic Mayan creation myth, a young goddess falls in love with a hunter – the Sun – without the approval of her father. Furiously, however, her father orders her to be killed. She is soon reborn as the Moon, but cast opposite the Sun, to rule the night. Each lovers’ eternal search for the other is the cause for the recurring day and night. On the other hand, in other versions of the story, the goddess is magically impregnated and gives birth to feathered serpent twins. The twins are seen in the sky as the morning and evening star, both Venus at different times of the year.


 Xunantunich - Frontal View

Ix Chel
In Mayan art, this moon goddess takes on many forms and is often linked with the Mayan goddess Ix Chel, weaver of the universe. Her name means Lady Rainbow, and she is also associated with the strength of young motherhood and the color white. In another light, she is cast in red as Chac Chel, the wise and experienced crone who is depicted pouring water. She symbolizes the cleansing of old, to make way for the new.

Could it be, the lady at El Castillo, with her white flowing garments and glowing red eyes, has something to do with this story of the maiden, adrift in search of her glittering prince?
The only way any of us could truly know would be to go to Xunantunich and ask the spirit herself… that is if you are willing to ask and she is willing to answer.
 

Directions

3VR5+29, San Jose Succotz, Belize, Cayo

View Larger Map

Budget

  • Free

Best For Whom

  • Mature Travellers
  • Backpackers
  • Students
  • Leisure Travellers

Best For What

  • Creative & Artistic
  • Cultural Experience

Gallery

My Lists

Create New Guide

OR

Mini Guides
Arrow

Login to create your guides for Belize.

Add to My Guide

Create New Guide

Cancel

Cancel

You Might Also Like

Create & Share your Guide to Belize with friends and family!

Add your recommended places to visit by browsing the website and pressing the icon.

Create your own guide of favourite 'must see' places

Earn your Local Expert badge by Sharing your guides with others

Get your guide seen by submitting it to the Mini Guides section

Lists

Mini Guides

Part of the My Guide Network

My Guide Belize is part of the global My Guide Network of Online & Mobile travel guides.

We are now in 120+ Destinations and Growing. If you are interested in becoming a local travel partner and would like to find out more then click for more info about our Website Business Opportunity.

Nearby Destinations