The Temple of Five Stories at Etzná
Located 25 miles southeast of Campeche, Campeche, the pre-Colombian Mayan City of Etzná was founded around 2,400 years ago. The central acropolis of the city is dominated by the 102-foot-high pyramid called The Temple of Five Stories, which together with 12 smaller temples encircle a main plaza. In the center of the plaza was a sacrificial altar, where sacrifices of blood-soaked, bark paper and the hearts of birds, deer, dogs, and humans were frequently offered up to the gods. The acropolis of Etzná is surrounded by a circular moat connected to a radiating, spoke-like series of canals which comprise one of the most advanced systems of water catchment and transportation found in the Mayan realm. The moat functioned as a defensive barrier, protecting the acropolis, and the canals served as a way to irrigate fields in the dry season and to transport water for storage to the central reservoir of the city during the rainy season. At tis height of importance, Etzná was home to around 25,000 Chontal Mayans and an important stop on the Mayan overland trade routes. However, as the Mayan sea trade routes grew in importance during the post-classic period, the city began to decline. The site was abandoned in the early 1400s for reasons unknown.