Copan map

Copan map from sign at site

"The ceremonial center of Copan reveals an urban plan that arranges space in a particularly flexible manner, and employs subtle means -- like stelae and altars on the main axes -- to make the major lines of its composition stand out. The Great Plaza, with a north-south axis, is subdivided into various parts by intermediate elements. The northern extreme constitutes a grandiose ceremonial amphitheater with a grandstand enclosing three sides of the plaza, and a high stepped platform delimiting the other side. It incorporates various rows of stelae and altars whose deep and whimsical relief is markedly baroque in character. Entirely different in concept, the southern extreme abuts on the imposing front of the acropolis, whose broad stairway must have served as another great tribune. Toward the center of the plaza is a small ball court partially enclosed by an L-shaped appendage."

Paul Gendrop, A Guide to Architecture