The Mayan Ruins of Iximché

Tecpán Mayan Ruins by Rudy Girón

The Mayan ruins of Iximché are located in modern day Tecpán Guatemala. Iximché is one of the few remaining archealogical Mayan sites on the highlands of Guatemala. Mixco Viejo is another Mayan site with ruins. Both were very important at the time of the arrival of the Spaniards.

Here’s part of the entry found at Wikipedia:
Iximche is located 90 kilometres (56 mi) west of Guatemala City, in the northwest of the Guatemalan department of Chimaltenango. The city was built at an altitude of 2,100 metres (7,000 ft) in an easily defensible position on a ridge surrounded by deep ravines, in order to defend the city from its hostile K’iche’ and Tz’utujil neighbors. The ridge is called Ratzamut and is a promontory of Tecpán hill, a 3,075-metre (10,089 ft) high mountain to the northwest of the ruins, which sit at the southeastern end of this promontory. The ridge is flanked by two rivers flowing in deep ravines, Río El Molino and Río Los Chocoyos, which both join to flow southwest into the Madre Vieja River, which empties into the Pacific Ocean. Iximche is located among pine forests common to highland Guatemala.

For many years the Kaqchikel served as loyal allies of the K’iche’ Maya. The growing power of the Kaqchikel within the alliance eventually caused such friction that the Kaqchikel were forced to flee the K’iche’ capital and found the city of Iximche. The Kaqchikel established their new capital upon an easily defensible ridge almost surrounded by deep ravines. Iximche developed quickly as a city and within 50 years of its foundation it had reached its maximum extent. The rulers of Iximche were four principal lords drawn from the four main clans of the Kaqchikel, although it was the lords of the Sotz’il and Xahil clans who held the real power.

After the initial establishment of Iximche, the K’iche’ left the Kaqchikel in peace for a number of years.[4] The peace did not last and the Kaqchikel soundly defeated their former overlords around 1491.[8] This was followed by infighting among the Kaqchikel clans with the rebel clans finally being overcome in 1493. Wars against the K’iche’ continued throughout the early 15th century.[8] When the Spanish conquistadors arrived in Mexico, the Aztec emperor sent messengers to warn the Kaqchikel.[9] After the surrender of the Aztecs to Hernán Cortés, Iximche sent its own messengers to offer a Kaqchikel alliance with the Spanish.[8] Smallpox decimated the population of Iximche before the physical arrival of the Europeans.[8] At the time of the Spanish Conquest Iximche was the second most important city in the Guatemalan Highlands, after the K’iche’ capital at Q’umarkaj. Conquistador Pedro de Alvarado was initially well received in the city in 1524 and the Kaqchikel kings provided the Spanish with native allies to assist in the conquest of the other highland Maya kingdoms.[8] Iximche was declared the first capital of the Kingdom of Guatemala in the same year.[8] Due to excessive Spanish demands for tribute the Kaqchikel soon broke the alliance and deserted their capital, which was burned 2 years later by Spanish deserters… continue reading at Wikipedia

© 2012, Rudy Girón. All rights reserved.

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  • norm

    Might I put in a plug for Mixco Viejo? It is a bit off the tourist track. I call it an end of the road ruin but it is still only a day trip out of the city.  

    • Sure Norm, I believe I do have some photos of Mixco Viejo on my photo library. If not, we well find a guest contribution to fill in for Mixco Viejo. 

      • norm

        I hope to be at Mixco Viejo for the December 21st event on the Mayan calender this fall/winter.