Copán is an archaeological site of the Maya civilization located in western Honduras. It was the Mayan capital city of a major Classic period kingdom from the 5th to 9th centuries AD. The city was located in the extreme southeast of the Mesoamerican cultural region. Copán had an occupational history that spanned more than two thousand years, from the Early Preclassic period right through to the Postclassic. The city developed a distinctive sculptural style within the tradition of the lowland Maya, perhaps to emphasize the Maya ethnicity of the city’s rulers. A significant portion of the eastern side of the acropolis has been eroded away by the Copán River, although the river has since been diverted in order to protect the site from further damage.

Roadside banner for the ruins
Roadside banner for the ruins
Commemorative plaque for the Copan world heritage site
Commemorative plaque for the Copan world heritage site
Inside the visitors center is a scale model of part
Inside the visitors center is a scale model of part of the ruins
Inside the visitors center is a scale model of part
Inside the visitors center is a scale model of part of the ruins
At the peak of its power in the Late Classic
At the peak of its power in the Late Classic the kingdom of Copan had a population of at least 20,000 and covered an area of over 250 square kilometers (100 sq mi). The greater Cop????n area consisting of the populated areas of the valley covered about a quarter of the size of the city of Tikal. It is estimated that the peak population in central Cop????n was between 6000 to 9000 in an area of 0.6 square kilometers (0.23 sq mi), with a further 9000 to 12000 inhabitants occupying the periphery????????an area of 23.4 square kilometers (9.0 sq mi). Additionally, there was an estimated rural population of 3000 to 4000 in a 476 square kilometers (184 sq mi) area of the Cop????n Valley, giving an estimated total population of 18,000 to 25,000 people in the Cop????n Valley during the Late Classic period.
Close-up map of the ruins
Close-up map of the ruins
Copan had an occupational history that spanned more than two
Copan had an occupational history that spanned more than two thousand years, from the Early Preclassic period right through to the Postclassic. The city developed a distinctive sculptural style within the tradition of the lowland Maya, perhaps to emphasize the Maya ethnicity of the city's rulers.
Paths are well marked and having a guide is best
Paths are well marked and having a guide is best
Colorful parrots are also quiet noisy
Colorful parrots are also quiet noisy
Some ruins are partially covered during ongoing restoration
Some ruins are partially covered during ongoing restoration
Restored pyramid in the Great Plaza group
Restored pyramid in the Great Plaza group
Many of the stelae in the Great Plaza group portray
Many of the stelae in the Great Plaza group portray King18 Rabbit
Many of the stelae in the Great Plaza group portray
Many of the stelae in the Great Plaza group portray King18 Rabbit
Close-up detail of stela, dated about AD 613-738
Close-up detail of stela, dated about AD 613-738
Close-up detail of stela, dated about AD 613-738; probably King
Close-up detail of stela, dated about AD 613-738; probably King 18 Rabbit (695-738)
Close-up detail of stela; probably King 18 Rabbit (695-738)
Close-up detail of stela; probably King 18 Rabbit (695-738)
Probably King 18 Rabbit (695-738) with turtle-shaped stone;  some say
Probably King 18 Rabbit (695-738) with turtle-shaped stone; some say this stone was a throne some say it was a sacrificial altar
Some say this stone was a throne some say it
Some say this stone was a throne some say it was a sacrificial altar with carved grooves to drain the blood
Typical tourist group getting an explanation of a stela
Typical tourist group getting an explanation of a stela
Guard overlooking the huge ball court
Guard overlooking the huge ball court
Guard overlooking the huge ball court
Guard overlooking the huge ball court
Detail in the huge ball court
Detail in the huge ball court
The huge ball court
The huge ball court
Hieroglyphic stairway from the era of King Smoke Shell (749-763)
Hieroglyphic stairway from the era of King Smoke Shell (749-763)
Explanation of stairway
Explanation of stairway
Detail of hieroglyphic stairway from the era of King Smoke
Detail of hieroglyphic stairway from the era of King Smoke Shell (749-763)
Displaced carved stone
Displaced carved stone
The huge Temple of the Inscriptions
The huge Temple of the Inscriptions
Rendering of the Temple of Inscriptions
Rendering of the Temple of Inscriptions
Tourists on top of the Temple
Tourists on top of the Temple
Altar in the West Plaza
Altar in the West Plaza
Stonework ruined by jungle vegetation
Stonework ruined by jungle vegetation
Partially restored pyramid in WestPlaza
Partially restored pyramid in WestPlaza
The West Plaza; At the peak of its power in
The West Plaza; At the peak of its power in the Late Classic the kingdom of Cop????n had a population of at least 20,000 and covered an area of over 250 square kilometers (100 sq mi)
Stonework ruined by jungle vegetation
Stonework ruined by jungle vegetation
Temple on West Palza
Temple on West Palza
Carved stone head
Carved stone head
Possibly the Mayan King Yax Pac
Possibly the Mayan King Yax Pac
Carved altarpiece
Carved altarpiece
Another temple on West Plaza
Another temple on West Plaza
Multiple temple constructions
Multiple temple constructions
Altar Q depicts 16 kings in the dynastic succession of
Altar Q depicts 16 kings in the dynastic succession of the city
Altar Q depicts 16 kings in the dynastic succession of
Altar Q depicts 16 kings in the dynastic succession of the city
Explanation of the multiple temples; a replica of the Rosalila
Explanation of the multiple temples; a replica of the Rosalila Temple is inside the Archeological Museum
East Plaza
East Plaza
East plaza was royal residence
East plaza was royal residence
East Plaza--Palace of the Jaguars
East Plaza--Palace of the Jaguars
Crimson blue crow
Crimson blue crow
Plants before and after stones
Plants before and after stones
Palace detail
Palace detail
Tunnel under the palace
Tunnel under the palace
Tunnel with macaw face entry
Tunnel with macaw face entry
Explanation of previous photo
Explanation of previous photo
Hieroglyphics on stairs
Hieroglyphics on stairs
Explanation of previous photo
Explanation of previous photo
East Plaza
East Plaza
East Plaza and the hills beyond
East Plaza and the hills beyond
Richard and Michael in the East Plaza
Richard and Michael in the East Plaza
Detail of remarkable stonework; each piece cut to fit the
Detail of remarkable stonework; each piece cut to fit the other
Two macaws
Two macaws
Two macaws
Two macaws
Entrance to the archeological museum
Entrance to the archeological museum
Entrance to the archeological museum
Entrance to the archeological museum
Tunnel entrance to the archeological museum
Tunnel entrance to the archeological museum
Explanation of the tunnels
Explanation of the tunnels
Explanation of the following photo--the Rosalila temple replica
Explanation of the following photo--the Rosalila temple replica
The Rosalila temple replica
The Rosalila temple replica
The Rosalila temple replica inside the Archeological Museum
The Rosalila temple replica inside the Archeological Museum
The Rosalila temple replica inside the Archeological Museum
The Rosalila temple replica inside the Archeological Museum
Inside the Archeological Museum
Inside the Archeological Museum
Skull carvings inside the Archeological Museum
Skull carvings inside the Archeological Museum
Hieroglyphic calendar reproduction (?)
Hieroglyphic calendar reproduction (?)
Hieroglyphic original calendar (?)
Hieroglyphic original calendar (?)
Inside the Museum
Inside the Museum
Explanation of following photo
Explanation of following photo
Bat glyph
Bat glyph
Stela of a king
Stela of a king
Glyphs
Glyphs
Rear view of Rosalila Temple; note brilliant colors
Rear view of Rosalila Temple; note brilliant colors
Reproduction temple entrance
Reproduction temple entrance
Bird mask glyph
Bird mask glyph
Tourist T-shirt on tour
Tourist T-shirt on tour
Local young vendor outside museum
Local young vendor outside museum
The hills around Copan
The hills around Copan