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Toniná Zona Arqueológica

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This pre-Hispanic site means “Big House of Stone” in Tzeltal. It is a sacred space made up of an artificial mountain of seven platforms, risen on a calcareous hill that dominate a long and extensive valley. Toniná was at its peak between the end of the 6th century and beginning of 10AC. It was a potent military power as recorded in the abundant representations of prisoners in stucco and stone. Its most important ruler was Tzotz Choj, “Bat-Tiger”. It is in Toniná, that the last of Mayan inscriptions from the Classical period is recorded in 909.

The access to the site is through the ball court of the prisoners, one of the largest in its time and located on a great platform, where the Sacrifice Altar stands over. It then opens out to the ball court of the Katuns where there are several sculpture displays. The third platform reveals the palace of the underworld while the Palace of the Friezes and War, whose façade is made of four spiraled and tiered friezes, can be found on the fourth platform.

On the side of the sixth platform, a mural of four suns can be found, a kind of codex made in stucco representing the myth of the four ages of cosmogony through which the Earth travels. In it, the suns of every cycle are represented as falling human heads.

The representation of the sun of the dead, which in its hands hold a decapitated head, is outstanding. On the sixth platform, the temple of the monster of the earth can also be found; represented in stucco, a monster devours a stone sphere. This temple is aligned with the winter and spring solstices. Finally, on the seventh platform sit the temples of the prisoners and the smoking mirror, the highlight of the highest point of this group, and the highest in Mesoamerica.

Toniná also comes with a splendid site museum, located in the middle of a rectangular esplanade, and built in reference to the myth of the creation of the universe as conceived by the people of the ancient past.