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Kohunlich


Description

Located on the Yucatán Peninsula about 25 km east of the Rio Bec region, and about 65 km west of Chetumal on Highway 186, and 9 km south of the road.

The ancient name of the area is still ignored but the current name Kohunlich comes from two English words:"cohune" for (a palm tree native to Belize) and "ridge" for "cohune ridge" or (the ridge where the cohune palm grows). The archaeologist Victor Segovia who explored the zone in the 60s, transcribed Cohume Ridge for Kohumrich; then, it became Kohunlich.

The site covers about 21 acres, surrounded by dense sub-tropical rainforest, and it contains almost 200 mounds, that remain largely unexcavated. The city was elaborately planned and engineered, with raised platforms and pyramids, citadels, courtyards and plazas surrounded with palace platforms, all laid out to channel drainage into a system of cisterns and an enormous reservoir to collect rainwater.


The site was settled by 200 BC, but most of the structures were built in the Early Classic period from about 250 to 600 AD. Many of them are still covered with thick vegetation and overgrown by trees. The city appears to have functioned as a regional center and stop along the trade routes through the southern Yucatán from Campeche and Rio Bec area to the west, and the cities along the east-coast and to the south, in the el Petén region of Guatemala and neighbouring Belize.

The road approaches the site from the north and leads into an enormous central plaza ringed by pyramids and temple platforms. To the north there is a massive, raised acropolis, or citadel, with a palace complex around a courtyard to the north-west. Further east there is the Temple of the Masks, built in honor of the sungod.. Originally there were eight carved masks flanking its central staircase; only five remain, three having been looted.

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