Central America

Maya vs Aztec Civilisations

Ersan Fedai

Ersan Fedai  |  3 June 2020

Learn more about the impressive Aztec & Mayan ruins!

When people think of travelling to Mexico and Central America and want to see historic ruins they mainly think of the Mayan ruins. With many ancient civilisations throughout the world the Maya were one of the most famous, but so were the Aztecs! Throughout my travels in Mexico and Central America, I found the Mayan and Aztec ruins and their history to be somewhat different but equally as impressive.

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The Maya were highly intelligent and had a scientific disposition with great knowledge in astronomy and used this knowledge to come up with an advanced calendar and calculations of when events may occur. The Maya were obsessed with time, which you can see by visiting many of their ruins in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras. The Maya came before the Aztecs!

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The Aztecs, on the other hand, were more warrior-like with stronger religious and mythological principles. The Aztecs were strong believers in human sacrifice and pursuing war with neighbouring tribes. The Aztec ruins which can still be found today in Mexico are towering stone pyramids with temples on top.

shutterstock 623845142 by Vadim Petrakov 800
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There are similarities between these two civilisations like the grand temples and progressive agricultural approaches, but my personal favourite that I learned about on my travels, is the ball game they played as a sport. Played with a rubber ball, the aim was to get it into three stone hoops without using your hands or feet. Unsurprisingly the Aztecs also used this sport for a sacrilegious purpose, and although it is uncertain it has been suggested the captain of the winning team would be the sacrifice.

shutterstock 1198073251 by Vadim Petrakov 800
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Here are some of my favourite Mayan and Aztec Ruins that I recommend to visit when travelling to Mexico and Central America:

 

1. Teotihuacan (pre- Aztec & Aztec) located outside of Mexico City

 shutterstock 210344812 by Barna Tanko 800 
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2. Tikal (Mayan), Guatemala

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 3. Aztec Sun Stone, National Anthropology Museum, Mexico City

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4. Palenque (Mayan), Mexico

 shutterstock 1042003609 by Maximilian Wenzel 800
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5. Chichen Itza (Mayan) Mexico

shutterstock 161210453 by Jose Ignacio Soto 800
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6. Uxmal (Mayan) Mexico

 shutterstock 1282079992 by Krzysztof Dzidek 800 
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7. Tulum (Mayan) Mexico

 shutterstock 386291464 by andrmoel 800 
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8. Tenayuca (Aztec) Mexico 

shutterstock 1422371018 by Luis Antonio Maya Orozco
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