Copan map

Photo Tour of the Ancient Maya Site at Copan, Honduras

Please click on yellow arrows to see photos from that spot.
NOTE: The dotted line in the upper right shows where the Copan River is collapsing some buildings on the east side of the Acropolis.

Paul Gendrop, the maya architecture historian, writes: "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

Structure 22A Popol Nah Great Plaza Stela 4 Stela F Temple 22, East Court Stela A Architectural Ornaments Stela B Hieroglyphic Staircase Stela C Stela D Ballcourt Pauahtun Temple 11 South Side Temple 11, North Facade Structure 16 and Altar Q Jaguar Staircase, East Court Stela H River Cut Copan Tunnels