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To the locals, the site was known as El Tajín, which was said to mean “of thunder or lightning bolt”. 700-900 CE. There are no books and no direct accounts by anyone who ever had direct contact with them. You may unsubscribe at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link included in the newsletter. The voladores appear every half-hour at the pole and circle erected just outside the main gate. Fifty-two was an important number for Mesoamerican civilizations: the two Maya calendars would align every fifty-two years, and there are fifty-two visible panels on each face of the Temple of Kukulcan in Chichen Itza. The pyramid has its Totonic name 'El Tajin' (exactly the same as the city), which means place of “of thunder or lightning bolt” but it even refers to the god of rain. This ball court forms a long rectangle bordered to the south by a large building which acted as a tribune, with the platform of building 5 marking the northern end. Numerous educational institutions recommend us, including Oxford University and Michigan State University and University of Missouri. A relief panel from the south ballcourt of El Tajin, Veracruz showing two players holding down and extracting the heart of a third player.A skeletal … The ballgame was of paramount importance to the people of El Tajín. Nevertheless, there are some obvious external influences on the architectural style at the site. Christopher Minster, Ph.D., is a professor at the ​Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador. Parallel structures with a well defined central alley are the basic architectural signature of the ballcourt, not only at El Tajin but it is also prevalent throughout much of Mesoamerica (Koontz 2009, p. 37). AncientPages.com - After Teotihuacan Empire eventually went into decline around 600- 700 CE, Pre-Hispanic City of El Tajin became the most important center in north-east Mesoamerica. Please help us create teaching materials on Mesopotamia (including several complete lessons with worksheets, activities, answers, essay questions, and more), which will be free to download for teachers all over the world. Their chief god was Quetzalcoatl, whose worship was common in Mesoamerican lands at the time. Each of these altars features three small niches: this adds up to eighteen niches, possibly representing the Mesoamerican solar calendar, which had eighteen months. Arian Zwegers / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0. Useful information. This was obviously the most important one, as it is decorated with six marvelous panels carved in bas-relief. El Tajín is considered one of the best preserved ancient sites in southern Mexico. Human Sacrifice, El Tajin. Much of it may once have been built of wood or other perishable materials: these have been long since lost to the jungle. Another innovation at El Tajín was the idea of plaster ceilings. This image was first published on Flickr. How To Visit El Tajín Located in the state of Veracruz, among jungle-covered hills in a region occupied by the Totonac Indians, the city flourished from the early 9th to the early 13th century. For example, one of the ballcourts in the ceremonial center is defined on either side by Buildings 13 and 14, which were designed for spectators. It wasn't until 1924 that the Mexican government dedicated some funds to explore and excavate El Tajin. Northeast mural portraying human sacrifice. Web. Northeast mural portraying human sacrifice. In each, the figure of Death, represented by a skull, can be seen observing the game from one side, evoking the sacrificial dimension of the games. Last modified January 24, 2015. The court bears the most beautiful decoration found on this type of building, with six sculpted panels running along the walls which describe several stages in these ceremonial games. Ancient History Encyclopedia Limited is a non-profit company registered in the United Kingdom. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 24 Jan 2015. South ballcourt, ballplayer (carving) in ‘underground temple’. The site boasts many buildings, temples, palaces and ball courts, but the most impressive of all is the stunning Pyramid of the Niches. Ancient History Encyclopedia. The most remarkable innovation of El Tajín's architects was the niches so common at the site. On one side of the temple is a great stairway which leads to the top: along this stairway are five platform altars (there were once six), each of which has three small niches in it. A relief panel from the south ballcourt of El Tajin, Veracruz showing two players holding down and extracting the heart of a third player. No fewer than seventeen ballcourts have been found so far at El Tajín, including several in and around the ceremonial center. Find all you need to know about El Tajín: South Ballcourt in : the Michelin Green Guide review and other useful information. The entrance to the site is located at the south end. However, several indigenous maps dated to the Spanish conquest, suggest that the city might have been called ‘Mictlan’ (‘place of the dead’). From the rudimentary ones at Building 16 to the magnificence of the Pyramid of the Niches, the site's best-known structure, niches are everywhere at El Tajín. Calculate your route to and from El Tajín: South Ballcourt, choose your restaurant or accomodation next to El Tajín: South Ballcourt and check the online map of on ViaMichelin. This style came to El Tajín from Teotihuacan, but the builders of El Tajin took it further. There are a number of temples and buildings in the Arroyo Group and old ceremonial center and palaces and administrative-type buildings in Tajín Chico, located on a hill to the north of the rest of the city. The southern monumental center of El Tajin contains numerous ballcourts for playing the ballgame. Subscribe to the ViaMichelin newsletter. The niches of El Tajín are small recesses set into the exterior walls of the tiers of several pyramids on the site. In 1939, José García Payón took over the project and oversaw excavations at El Tajin for almost forty years. Archaeologists speculate that the temple was built sometime between 1100 and 1150 CE when El Tajin was at the height of its power. Check out our car rental service and all its many benefits: Find the right flight ticketat the best price with Skyscanner. El Tajín had only one period of occupation lasting from 800 to 1200 AD and was inhabited by about 15.000 - 20.000 people. The site museum is also located here. The ballgame was of paramount importance to the people of El Tajín. Most of the buildings and structures are made of locally available sandstone. Photo credit: "El Tajin Ballcourt Mural (Tom Aleto)" by Thomas Aleto from Riverside, PA - Tajin Sacrifice Scene. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons. "Human Sacrifice, El Tajin." It was once dramatically painted to heighten the contrast between the shady, recessed niches and the faces of the tiers; the interior of the niches was painted black, and the surrounding walls red. 120, Carved Panel, South Ballcourt, Tajín, Classic (In Miller’s textbook, read pages 119-121). On the stairway, there were once six platform-altars (only five remains). It took time before the first research works began in El Tajin in 1935. The Ancient History Encyclopedia logo is a registered EU trademark. Among the most impressive structures, there is the Pyramid of the Niches, named for the approximately 365 recesses on its four sides and recorded in 1785.

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