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El Tajin

Listed under Archaeological Sites in Poza Rica de Hidalgo, Mexico.

  • Photo of El Tajin
  • Photo of El Tajin
  • Photo of El Tajin
  • Photo of El Tajin
  • Photo of El Tajin
Photo of El Tajin
Photo by flickr user »Philo
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Some of South America’s ancient treasures have become overly popular with tourists, who erode the wonder from the ruins in much the same way that the weather does, but El Tajin is still relatively unscathed. Over 150 buildings have been identified on the El Tajin site, although so far, only around 20 have been excavated and restored. Even though archaeological work is ongoing, with the revelation of more buildings comes new mysteries. Like other sites found in Mexico, the structures seem to resemble calendars and time, with one example being the Pyramid of Niches, with its 365 recesses. The Plaza Menor (Minor Plaza) is thought to be one of the main ceremonial centres of El Tajin, while the ruins reveal that games were a large part of the culture. Juego de Pelota Sur (Southern Ball Court) is the most remarkable of the Games Courts found so far, as its walls have carvings depicting the ritualistic games, and revealing that at least one of the contestants was sacrificed.

Written by  John Johnston.

Other expert and press reviews

“El Tajin, Pre-Hispanic City”

'Located in the state of Veracruz, El Tajin was at its height from the early 9th to the early 13th century. It became the most important centre in north-east Mesoamerica after the fall of the Teotihuacan Empire. Its cultural influence extended all along… Read more...

Written by press. UNESCO

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

El Tajin

Still an active archaeological site, El Tajin is one of many pre-Columbian ruins still being uncovered in Mexico. The ruins at El Tajin only cover a kilometre square, but incorporate about 150 buildings, 20 of which have been fully excavated. Amongst these are two large ball-courts, once used for playing a ritualistic sport involving a solid rubber ball and stone loops built into the walls. Scientists are still not certain of the game rules, though carvings on the walls of one of the courts depict a human sacrifice- that's a red card ref! Tourists can get an idea of the architectural layout of the site from the museum, and access is good enough for it to have a public car park.

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