The Maya civilization is a civilization founded by the indigenous Maya group of Mexico and Central America. This civilization is well known for its hieroglyphic manuscripts which were the only fully converted written system in pre-Columbian America. The Maya civilization was also ahead of all others in art, architecture, mathematics, calendars and astronomy. Today's event is about the Mayans who went ahead of time.

Who is Maya?

The word Maya originates from the ancient city of Yucatan in Mayapan. Yucatan was the last capital of the Mayan Empire in post-classical times (2000-250 BC). The Mayans identify themselves by ethnic characteristics and language - the Quiche in the South or the Yucatec in the North. When John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood "discovered" the mysterious Maya in 1840, the whole world became somewhat confused. But in reality, Maya culture is not as mysterious as everyone initially thought. There is a popular misconception about the Mayans that they are a lost race. The Mayas are not lost, but rather the famous cities of Chichen Itza, Bonampak, Uksmal, and Altun Ha, which their descendants founded .

Where is Mayan?

The Mesoamerican Indians, or Maya, lived largely over a large area, including southeastern Mexico and northeastern Central America. Part of these areas included the entire Yucatan Peninsula, Guatemala, Belize, western Honduras, and El Salvador. Most of the peninsula originated with mountains and vast plains along the low sea line.

History of the Maya civilization

The history of the Maya civilization is basically divided into three main eras - pre-classic, classic and post-classical. Based on these three eras, ideas about the evolution, emergence and behavior of the Maya culture are found. And at the beginning of these three eras was the Archaic era, when the Mayan people first settled and there was an early development in agriculture.

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The period 7000-2000 BC is called the Archaic Age. During this period a hunter-gatherer farming practice team began cultivating corn, beans and other vegetables, and began raising livestock especially dogs and turkeys. The first settlements in this period were dedicated to various deities and temples. These settlements spread from 2000 BC to 1500 BC.

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The Olmec era or pre-classical era began in 1500 BC. It was during this period that the oldest Olmec culture in Mesoamerica emerged. They settled in the area bordering the Gulf of Mexico and built large brick-and-stone cities. From the ruins of the famous Olmec statues found in the ruins of those cities, one can get an idea of ​​Olmec's real intellectual skills in sculpture. At the same time, these idols provide evidence of the practice of shamanic religion in that era. The enormity of the Olmec ruins gave rise to the idea that Olmec was the abode of monsters. While no one knows where the Olmecs came from or what happened to them later, it is certain that they sowed the seeds of a future civilization in Mesoamerica. The pre-classic era ended in the 200th century BC.

The classic era of the Maya civilization is traced back to the time when lowland Mayaras began to build monuments using long court calendars. From 250 BC to 950 AD, the power of powerful cities such as Yucatec Maya, Chichen, Itza, and Uxmal came together. It was during this period that large-scale construction and urbanization of the Maya civilization took place, with inscriptions and significant intellectual and artistic development taking place - especially in the lower reaches of the South. The political features of the Renaissance or classical Greece are compared with the Mayan political features of the Classical period. Multiple Mayan city-states were involved in a complex animosity. The largest cities of that era had populations ranging from 50,000 to 120,000.

In the early part of the Classic era, the mighty city of Tiutihuacan in the Mexico Valley was influential throughout the Maya region. In 37 AD, Tiutihuakan intervened in Tikal and other nearby towns, leading to the resignation of the city rulers and the beginning of a new Tiutihuakan-backed monarchy in the city. And with the introduction of the new monarchy, Tilan became the most powerful city in the central lowlands and a new chapter of political domination began.

Tikal's biggest rival was Chalakmul, another powerful city in the Peten Basin. Both Chalakmul and Tikal had a good number of support groups and the teams were managed through an organizational management. The two cities fought against each other with the help of their supporters, and at different times in the classic era, any one of these two forces triumphed, resulting in an era of ups and downs. The classic age is the time when the Maya civilization ascended to the highest peaks of mathematics, astronomy, architecture and art. And reformed the Mayan calendar perfectly.

In post-classical times the mighty cities of the Maya became abandoned cities. Although no explanation has been found for the sudden abandonment of cities, population explosion and climate change are possible factors. Empty urban areas were occupied and resettled by the new group Toltecs. The dominant cities in this era were Tula and Chichen-Itza. The Kich Mayans were defeated at the Battle of Utalan in 1524 and this year is considered to be the end of the Maya civilization.

Mayan art and culture

The development of Maya culture took place in the classic era. The Mayas believed in a circular life  there is no birth or death and this belief gave rise to their ideas about God and the universe. Their knowledge of space influenced their installation, mathematics and astronomy. They believed that there was a Shivalba or ‘place of terror’ beneath the earth where there were trees of life. That tree stretches from the underworld to heaven and has to travel 13 steps to reach Tamoyanchan's heaven. The Mayans believe that no one dies and goes to heaven or hell, but travels on the path of Tamoyanchan and this journey begins from the dark Shivalba where everything is confusing and destructive.

Mayan pyramids

The pyramids of the Mayan civilization are built in the shape of the Witzgeb, the mountain of the gods. The cyclical rotation of human existence is described in the famous Mayan calendar. Kich Maya’s religious book Popol-Vu describes this belief through a story of heroism against the heroic twin Hunahpu and Balanki’s Shibalbar lords. Also, the game called Pok-a-Talk mentioned in the story of this heroic twin is given for the same purpose. This game called Pok-a-Talk was considered to be the most popular game among the Mayans. Through this game people's life struggle was highlighted. This pok-a-talk game, much like basketball, is a game of trying to insert a small rubber ball through a circle hanging on the wall with 6 players facing each other in two teams. The funniest part of this game is that players can't use any of their arms or legs, only the waist, shoulders, head and knees.

Mayan art was originally considered a royal art. The main subject of the Mayan art was also the upper class Mayans and their way of life. The Maya art was made of perishable and inexhaustible metal which was presented as a sign of the connection of the Maya with their ancestors. The type of art and writing of the Mayas varied from region to region.

The construction period of the most well-preserved art indicates the end of the classic era. The widespread use of blue and green in the Mayan art is notable, and they use the same word for these two colors. In the same way, the Mayans had a different appreciation for the apple-colored green jade and other green stones in association with the sun god Kinich Azau. The Mayans also have no equal in sculpting. From the beautiful, perfect sculptures, it can be inferred that the practice of sculpture began long ago in the Mayan civilization. There are many wooden sculptures and hieroglyphic panels that have survived for centuries. Again, the existence of some industries has disappeared with the passage of time.

The contribution of murals to the Mayan civilization is no less. The relationship between Mural painting and Mayan civilization is very old. Several murals dating to 300 and 200 BC have been found in San Bartolo. Among the well-preserved and intact murals, the one found at Bonampak is notable.

Mayan calendar

The Mayan calendar is a type of calendar used in pre-Colombian Mesoamerica and is still used in Guatemala, Veracruz, Ajax and Chiapas in Mexico. The method used in the Mayan calendar dates back to at least the 5th century BC. Many similarities can be found between the Mayan calendar and the calendars of other Mesoamerican civilizations, such as the Japotec, the Olmec, the Mixtek, and the Aztecs.

There are two types of Mayan calendars - The Hub or the general calendar (365 days, 18 months, 20 days per month) and the Jolkin or holy calendar (280 days, the months are divided into 3 parts, 20 days per month). Hub and Yolkin calendars work together like two parts of the same machine. The months of the Mayan calendar were the responsibility of different gods. Since the gods are immortal, it was the job of the gods to transmit uninterrupted energy during their specific months. The Mayans may be considered a mysterious nation because of their beliefs and calendars. Or maybe the Mayans have some secrets that set them apart from others.

The current Maya civilization

In modern times the Mayas live on the same land and travel along the same river that their ancestors once traveled from the Yucatan to Honduras. The Mayas still preserve the heritage of their ancestors and still keep alive the belief in the cyclical rotation of life among them.

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  1. Nice article and thank for sharing the Mayan civilization information.

  2. Nice article by


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