Map of the Maya World

  • By Peter Tyson
  • Posted 02.13.01
  • NOVA

In its heyday from about A.D. 300 to 900, the Maya civilization boasted hundreds of cities across a vast swath of Central America. Now archeological sites, these once-flourishing cities extended from Chichén Itzí¡ in the northern Yucatí¡n to Copí¡n, about 400 miles to the south in modern-day Honduras. Each bore ceremonial centers where theocratic rulers practiced a complex religion based on a host of gods, a unique calendar, and ceremonies that featured a ball game and human sacrifice. The ancient Maya also mastered astronomy, mathematics, art and architecture, and a glyph system of writing on stone, ceramics, and bark paper. Using an interactive map, visit 15 of the better-known Maya sites.

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From Chichén Itzí¡ in the north to Copí¡n in the south, the Maya empire was vast and varied.



WGBH Educational Foundation
(Chichén Itzí¡)
Deanna Bean/
(Tulum, Uxmal, Sayil)
© S. Greg Panosian/
© Maxime VIGE/
(Bonampak, Quiriguí¡)
© Charles & Josette Lenars/CORBIS
© Craig Lovell/CORBIS
© Brian Raisbeck/
© Steve Geer/
(Altun Ha)
© Graphically Speaking/
© Dave G. Houser/Corbis
© Gianni Dagli Orti/CORBIS
© WGBH Educational Foundation
© Macduff Everton/CORBIS

Related Links

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  • Speaking Ancient Maya

    Anthropologist Barbara MacLeod says that studying the ancient Maya language offers a unique window into the past.

  • Deciphering Maya: A Time Line

    Trace key discoveries in the effort to understand the Maya script.


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