It features six tiers (there was once a seventh, but it was destroyed over the centuries), each of which is three meters (ten feet) high: total height of the Pyramid of the Niches in its present state is eighteen meters (about 60 feet). To complete your registration, click on the link in the email that we have just sent you. Please support Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation. The ballgame was of paramount importance to the people of El Tajín. 700-900 CE. Once completed, the temple itself was painted red and the niches were painted black to dramatize the contrast. This lack of information makes the architecture that much more important: it is the best source of information about this lost culture. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Web. The best example of the importance of the Niches at El Tajin is the impressive Pyramid of the Niches. 18. The ballgame was of paramount importance to the people of El Tajín. After the fall of Teotihuacan around 650 A.D., El Tajin was one of several powerful city-states that arose in the ensuing vacuum of power. Even the ceiling at the Building of the Columns may have had an arched plaster ceiling, as archaeologists discovered large blocks of convex, polished blocks of plaster there. The entrance to the site is located at the south end. The usual shape of a ball court was that of a double T: a long narrow area in the middle with an open space at either end. After 1200 AD, it was abandoned and partly destroyed, when the region came under the rule of the powerful Aztec empire. South Ballcourt (El Tajín) Six relief panels were set into the walls of the ballcourt, three on each side. Michelin accompanies you throughout your trip ! Unlike the Maya, who were fond of carving glyphs with names, dates, and information into their stone artwork, the artists of El Tajin rarely did so. Archaeologists speculate that the temple was built sometime between 1100 and 1150 CE when El Tajin was at the height of its power. No fewer than seventeen ballcourts have been found so far at El Tajín, including several in and around the ceremonial center. Michelin Travel Partner will process your email address in order to manage your subscription to the ViaMichelin newsletter. Most of the structures at the top of pyramids or on finely built bases were constructed of perishable materials such as wood, but there is some evidence in the Tajín Chico area of the site that some of the ceilings may have been made of heavy plaster. The largest known ballcourt is at Chichén Itzá, where the court is 316 feet (96.5 meters) long and 98 feet (30 meters) wide. It wasn't until 1924 that the Mexican government dedicated some funds to explore and excavate El Tajin. Copyright © AncientPages.com All rights reserved. This gives the buildings a striking, majestic silhouette. El Tajín was built in the lush, hilly lowlands not far from the Gulf Coast. No fewer than seventeen ballcourts have been found so far at El Tajín, including several in and around the ceremonial center. It is believed that this tradition derived from the Maya as the losers of the ballgame were beheaded and sacrificed to the deities. One of the most striking structures at El Tajin is the South Ballcourt. 120, Carved Panel, South Ballcourt, Tajín, Classic (In Miller’s textbook, read pages 119-121). The Ancient History Encyclopedia logo is a registered EU trademark. In being named a World Heritage Site in 1992, new facilities have been added to this area, such as a cafeteria, information services, a park and administrative offices. Physical description of The Great Ball Court in Chichen Itza. You may unsubscribe at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link included in the newsletter. This is similar to "el Castillo" or the Temple of Kukulcan in Chichén Itzá, which likewise has four stairways. Aleto, T. (2015, January 24). 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. Even after the fall of El Tajin, sometime around 1200 A.D., locals kept the temple clear and it was the first part of the city discovered by Europeans. 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. The four end panels represent the ball players. On the stairway, there were once six platform-altars (only five remains). Seven times fifty-two is three hundred and sixty-four. After 1200 AD, it was abandoned and partly destroyed, when the region came under the rule of the powerful Aztec empire. Gebruik de routeplanner voor uw reis van en naar , vind uw restaurant of hotel en bekijk de kaart van op ViaMichelin. The overall style of the pyramids at the site is referred to in Spanish as the talúd-tablero style (it basically translates as slope/walls). 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. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons. The pyramid, which sits on a square base, has exactly 365 deep-set, well-designed niches, suggesting that it was a place where the sun was worshiped. Christopher Minster, Ph.D., is a professor at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador. 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. The Tajín Chico complex is an large acropolis with many palaces and other civil structures but only few temples; it once belonged to the center of El Tajin city. Most of the buildings and structures are made of locally available sandstone. The word "Tajín" refers to a spirit with great powers over the weather, especially in terms of rain, lightning, thunder, and storms. To the northeast is the impressive Great Xicalcoliuhqui wall. Dimensions and Appearance of the Pyramid of the Niches, Discovery and Excavation of The Pyramid of the Niches, Cempoala: Totonac Capital and Ally of Hernan Cortes, A Walking Tour of the Maya Capital of Chichén Itzá, Maya Archaeological Ruins in the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico, Pyramids: Enormous Ancient Symbols of Power. A relief panel from the south ballcourt of El Tajin, Veracruz showing two players holding down and extracting the heart of a third player. 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. Another innovation at El Tajín was the idea of plaster ceilings. The builders of El Tajín also added niches to the flat walls of the tiers, resulting in a richly textured, dramatic look not seen at Teotihuacan. Useful information. It took time before the first research works began in El Tajin in 1935. Last modified January 24, 2015. Especially interesting is Building A, which is the most richly decorated of all structures in El Tajin. This lasted until 1785 when a local bureaucrat named Diego Ruiz discovered it while searching for clandestine tobacco fields. More tourist attractions in Papantla de Olarte. This style came to El Tajín from Teotihuacan, but the builders of El Tajin took it further. He is a former head writer at VIVA Travel Guides. Some of the temples and pyramids are built over earlier structures. The voladores appear every half-hour at the pole and circle erected just outside the main gate. The archaeological site of El Tajin, located in the present-day Mexican State of Veracruz, is remarkable for many reasons. 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. Many of the pyramids and temples are made of finely carved stone and filled with packed earth. El Tajin South Ballcourt : Click on the pictures Building 5 in the background. 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. A further exceptional element is the building in the form of a Xicalcoliuhqui motif that appears on temples and other buildings also in archaeological places around Mexico, but it definitely is unique in Mesoamerica. 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. Ballcourts vary in size throughout Mesoamerica.
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