iximche01Iximche is a Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican archaeological site in the western highlands of Guatemala, some 90 km from the capital. Iximche was the capital of the Late Postclassic Kaqchikel Maya kingdom from 1470 until its abandonment in 1524.

The architecture of the site included a number of pyramid-temples, palaces, and two Mesoamerican ballcourts.

Excavators uncovered the poorly preserved remains of painted murals on some of the buildings and ample evidence of human sacrifice. The ruins of Iximche were declared a Guatemalan National Monument in the 1960s. The site has a small museum displaying a number of pieces found there, including sculptures and ceramics. It is open daily.

The site’s name from the Mayan name of the Ramon tree (Brosimum alicastrum), from the words ixim and che, meaning literally “maize tree”.

United States President Bush visited the site on March 12, 2007. Local Maya priests said that they would be conducting purifying rites after his visit to cleanse the area of “bad spirits” brought by the president, who they said persecutes their “migrant brothers” in the United States. “We reject this portrayal of our people as a tourist attraction,” a spokesman, Morales Toj, said.

Visiting Iximche, combined with a lunch in a nearby town of Tecpan, can be a lovely way to spend your day out of the metropolis. Or, to make your ride to Xela even more exciting.



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