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Archaeological Zone Ek Balam
Yucatán, México
Preclásico Superior y Clásico Temprano
08:00 a 17:00


The ancient city of Ek Balam, asleep for centuries in the middle of the jungle, is gradually waking up, allowing admire its grandeur and majesty. Although he was known by the inhabitants of nearby regions, was reported for the first time in 1886 by anthropologist Désiré Charnay. But it was only in 1984, which started a research project in coordination with the American INAH in which after several seasons was conducted map of the central part of the site and some apart around the city.

The "relationship Ek 'Balam" (1579), the encomendero Juan Gutierrez told that the Captain Francisco de Montejo gave header Tiquibalan or Ek' Balam, with 5 people, having been one of the conquerors of the region. That relationship is based also Tiquibalan was founded and populated by a great gentleman called Ek 'Balam, who built the largest of the 5 structures by other captains under his command.

Ek 'Balam, is a name in the Maya language Yucatan apparently taken from this ruling that can be translated into Spanish as "Jaguar Black" or "lucero-jaguar." At this site, called particular attention to the enormous size of their buildings; equally, that its central part this surrounded by 2 walls, which is rare.

Inside the walled town of a little more than one square km are the most important structures distributed in 2 large squares connected to what we call central square and square south, around them are many buildings of different sizes walls with 5 innings in various sectors of its contour and there are 5 sak bé oob (roads) that leave them in the direction of the 4 corners. The south side of the wall is a special case since it has 2 inputs and 2 sak bé oob.


Importance of place

Ek Balam been occupied since the Late Formative period prior to the fourth century until the colonial period. At first their relationship with schools as Cobá, or perhaps other further south, such as the shores of the Usumacinta River, and then to the cities of the Puuc and Chichen Itza in the same, provided a setting that begins today seen their large structures restored.

Moreover etnohistóricas sources, colonial documents, show that Ek Balam was also an important center of the Post-classic.

As for the colonial people, it is regarded as "pristine example of the early beginnings of the formation of the task." The archaeological work in this area of the site suggest that, with regard to the exchange of the early years of the colony, communities were charged commercially isolated after the conquest and the networks native, were mostly destroyed, although the market was very developed poorly at the beginning, no distribution system organized Hispanic born to replace them, says historian Nancy Farris in 1984.





Ek Balam is in the central part of Yucatan, aunos 190 kms from Merida and is easy to get to the area, because access is clearly marked. You can take the road to Valladolid, as it is located 30 km north of this city.

Ek Balam is located north of the colonial city of Valladolid, halfway between Merida and Cancun. To get there take the road Cancun - Merida, exit at Valladlid and dirijírse north in the direction of the town of Tizimin. From Cancun or Merida trip takes no more than two and a half hours

Chacchoben map

Principal Structures

The place consists of several temples, two huge palaces and a large pyramid at the center of the city.
One of the main buildings of the largest discovered so far, is the Acropolis. It measures 146 meters. Long, 54 meters. Wide and 30 meters. High. It is believed to be the tomb of who was governor of the city around 800 AD, was called Ukil-Kan-Lek-Tok. The Acropolis is also a big entry, which takes the form of mouth monster is supposed to represent the entrance to the Other World.

Other interesting facts is that the city was surrounded by a wall, like that of Tulum. From the top of the main pyramid can be seen the ruins of Cobá, 48 km. Several Sac Be (old Mayan road) connecting Ek Balam with Chichen Itza, Cobá and other archaeological sites nearby. Most of the sculptures and decoration of the site were not affected by time and are kept very well.
Other buildings of interest are the Palace Oval and the Ball Game.


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