Tazumal is the site of the most famous Mayan ruins of El Salvador. Located about 38 miles from the capital city of San Salvador, the ruins of Tazumal are in a region that is densely populated with archaeological sites. Other nearby sites that are worth a visit include Casa Blanca, Las Victorias, and Trapiche. Tazumal El Salvador is the best known of these Mayan ruins, and it is also one of the best-preserved. The name Tazumal translates as, “the place where people were burned.” If this intriguing name isn’t enough to get you to visit, there are plenty of other enticing features as well.
The life span of Tazumal is estimated to be from 100 to 1200 AD. Interesting features you will see during a visit include tombs, pyramids, and a water-draining system, as well as statues and other displays of Mayan art. Archaeologists discovered clues at the ruins of Tazumal that suggest this city may have been trading with other distant cities. During a visit, you will learn about many aspects of Tazumal history, from details about trade to how archeologists reached the conclusion that the first inhabitants of the region date back to 1200 BC.
From the city of San Salvador, you must rent a car to reach Tazumal El Salvador. Open Tuesday through Sunday, from 9 am until 4 pm, the ruins of Tazumal are very inexpensive to visit, though there is a small additional fee for parking. The main structure on the site is a pyramid with twelve platforms that contain tombs, pottery, and jewels. If you’re especially interesting in learning about the history of the site, and not just looking around, consider hiring a guide. Local guides are available at the entrance for an extra fee and they will share their expertise on not only the archaeological site, but about the people who lived there.
Other facilities at Tazumal include a museum and crafts shop. Visitors may be surprised to learn that some of the architecture at Tazumal shares traits with the ruins of Central Mexico, such as Teotihuacan. This is further evidence that this city traded with places as far away as Panama and Mexico. While Tazumal is the best known archaeological site in El Salvador, there are many sites to explore in neighboring countries as well. If you’re interested in the ancient Mayans, check out the ruins at Xunantunich in Belize, Quirigua in Guatemala, or Copan in Honduras.
Tazumal El Salvador is a source of pride for the country. It has appeared on stamps and currency in recent years. An interesting fact about Tazumal is that an incredible statue was discovered at this site that is now on display at the Museum of Anthropology. Believed to have come from Mexico, a life-size statue of Xipo-Totec, the Aztec God, was recovered in excellent condition. Intricate details can still be seen on the statue, and it’s well worth taking a side trip to the museum to see it. When visiting the ruins of Tazumal, there is also a small picnic area. Bring along a snack and take advantage of the opportunity to have lunch in an ancient city!
Image: Paralogical (flickr)