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  • Writer's picturechaithanya ganesh

Civilizations of the world: Mayan


The Maya civilization was a Mesoamerican civilization developed by the Maya people and noted for its logosyllabic script.

Mayans were known for creating elaborate ceremonial architecture, such as pyramids, temples, palaces, and observatories. They were also skilled weavers and potters. This notable civilization developed in the area that today is known as southeastern Mexico, all of Guatemala and Belize, and the western portions of Honduras and El Salvador.

“Maya" is a modern term used to refer collectively to the various people that inhabited this area.

They are known worldwide for developing the advanced civilization in America.

Mayans found the mathematical concept of zero, the complex calendar system, and also the written language of hieroglyphs.


Architecture practiced and followed by Maya are also significant in the history of civilizations. The architecture of the period and region is best characterized by the rising pyramid temples and ornate palaces which were built in all Maya centers across Mesoamerica from El Tajin in the north to Copan in the south. Most of the buildings here were built by giving precise attention to position and layout.

Features of Maya Architecture are multi-level elevated platforms, massive step-pyramids, corbelled roofing, monumental stairways, and exteriors decorated with sculpture and moldings of Maya glyphs, geometric shapes, and iconography from religion such as serpent masks, etc.

It was also found out on research that Maya architecture took inspiration from Mesoamerican heritage. Prominent building materials used in the construction were limestone, sandstone, and volcanic tuff.

Mayans are apparently very much famous for their stone works apart from their astonishing achievements in mathematics and astronomy. Their civilization has also tracked back to the efficient and sophisticated agricultural system practiced back then.


The architecture in the Mayan civilization leaves behind the history, plastered imagery of events that happened. Mayan architecture is not only aesthetically pleasing but also technically accurate. They used architecture as their starting point to express their beliefs and to create their civilization.

The larger masonry structures are the most commonly remembered and explored examples of Mayan architecture, which include public buildings, palaces, temples, and ball courts. It is very much evident that Maya had a group of people who were efficient and skilled apart from professional and talented architects. The people of Maya considered houses and temples as the world, one for family and the other for God.

The Maya lived in and around their cities and towns in dense and permanent settlements. The city planning and arrangement were based on their perspective of the world.

Mayans were known to use the technique of superimposition ( building a new structure on the top of an old one). Their style of architecture is inspired and evident throughout America and this architecture is also considered as a lesson to present-day architects to use and make the whole construction process more environment friendly.


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