Photos from Sayil

Sayil means place of the leaf-cutter ants in Maya.

Stephens and Catherwood visited "Zayi" during their 1841 expedition to the Yucatan. Stephens wrote: "After proceeding a mile and a half we saw at some distance before us a great tree-covered mound, which astonished us by its vast dimensions...

Our guides cut a path, and, clearing the branches overhead, we followed on horseback, dismounting at the foot of the Casa Grande. It was by this name that the Indians called the immense pile of white stone buildings, which, buried in the depths of a great forest, added new desolation to the waste by which they were surrounded. We tied our horses, and worked our way along the front. The trees were so close that we could take in but a small portion of it at once...".

John Lloyd Stephens, Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas & Yucatán, 1843