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Ek' Balam
Archaeological Ruins
Yucatán, México
Page One.

Travel & Tour
Pictures, Photos,
Images, Information, & Reviews.

George & Eve DeLange

Google Map To Ek' Balam Archaeological Ruins, In Yucatán
On The Yucatán Peninsula, México.


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'El Torre'. Ek Balam Archaeological Ruins. Yucatan, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico Tour & Travel Pictures, Photos, Images, Information, & Reviews.
"El Torre" At Ek Balam, 500 Feet Long, 250 Feet Wide, 100 Feet High.

Ek' Balam, Yucatán: Ek' Balam is Mayan for "Black Jaguar", "Bright Star Jaguar", or "Jaguar Star". In spanish the name is "Jaguar Negro". In ancient times the site was known as "Talol". It was first founded by the ruler "Ek Balam" or "Coch Cal Balam". The core site is about 5000 meters in circumference surrounded by 2 low lying walls. Within the interior wall there are several restored pyramids and temples. Other structures within the area are completely in ruins and as yet unrestored.

First construction started in the late Pre-Classic period (100 BC to 300 AD) and continued well into Late Classic time, which is 700 to 900 AD. So Ek Balam was inhabited for about a thousand years.

In the "Account of Ek Balam - 1579," Commander Juan Gutiérrez Picón; writes that Captain Francisco de Montejo granted him the capital of the district of Tiquibalon (Ek Balam containing five villages) for having been one of the conquerors of the region. According to this account, it is also stated that Tiquibalon was founded and populated by the great man called Ek Balam, who built most of the five structures at the site. Other "captains" under Ek Balam's orders constructed the rest of the site.

When you visit Ek' Balam, the enormous dimensions of the buildings on this site are what stand out, as well as the fact that two walls surround the central part of Ek' Balam which is an uncommon Mayan attribute.

Even though the site is very large, the most important structures are easily found within a walled enclosure of less than one square kilometer in size and are distributed within two large, connected plazas referred to as the Central and South Plazas.

There are five entrances in the walls and five sacbe (roads) which depart from the entrances in the four cardinal directions. These sacbe were Mayan "white roads" used mostly for ceremonial purposes.

However, on the South side of the wall there are two entrances and two sacbe.

The Tower, "El Torre", is one of the largest Mayan structures in the Yucatan. It measures over 500ft/151m long, 200ft/60m wide and reaches 100ft/30m in the air. The city walls are not high enough to provide much protection, which probably means they were probably built for ceremonial purposes. Another ceremonial feature is the ball court, where the important Mayan ball game was held.

A major difference that you will notice at Ek Balam's "El Torre," is that the decoration of it's building facades was not done with carved stone figures as at Uxmal or Chichen Itza. It was done with stucco and limestone mortar modeled into distinct forms and then painted.

Most of the buildings at Ek’Balam were built around 800 A.D. or later. Around that time, the city was ruled by a powerful man named Ukil-Kan-Lek-Tok, whose tomb has been found inside "The Tower". "The Tower" is also known as building "I", "The Acropolis". A beautiful, stucco wall makes up the opening of the tomb. It is thought that the rulers name is "Ukil-Kan-Lek-Tok". His name has been deduced from a glyph in the tomb. There are full figure statues above and surrounding the tomb with so much detail you can see the braids in their hair and the actual patterns of their loincloths. Hieroglyphs of corn sit next to warriors with skulls on their belts. In some places you can see some wall paintings in excellent shape.

There is a doorway in this area which is made in the shape of a jaguar's mouth with fearsome looking fangs. The doorway enters onto a pit which is about sixty feet deep, with wooden spikes at the bottom. It is thought that prisoners were thrown into the pit to their deaths. This pit with the monster fanged mask is said to be "The Gate To Hell". The doorway was not open on the day of our visit.

Most cities in the Mayan World were built in the close proximity to a cenote, which was their fresh water source. Ek Balam is about a kilometer from the nearest cenotes, which is why the city leaders had to figure out a way to store rain water underground.

A cenote is a natural waterhole. The word Cenote is a corruption by the Spanish of the Maya word dzonot, a large circular sink-hole created by the collapse of limestone caves. The water in cenotes is filtered through limestone and constituted one of the primary sources of drinking water for the Maya. Patterns of settlement among the early Maya often followed the location of cenotes.

During the Late Preclassic, the Ancient Maya of the Yucatán Peninsula began carving out underground storage facilities called Chultuns. These chambers were carved out of the relatively soft Limestone bedrock, then often plastered with a thick coating of lime stucco. The exact purpose of these extremely common storage chambers still eludes archaeologists. Most were probably used to collect and store rain water. The northern portion of the Yucatán Peninsula has a marked dry season, and portions have a quite meager rainy season. What water does fall, sinks into the limestone bedrock almost immediately and joins with the groundwater in the immense systems of caves which riddle the peninsula. Consequently, surface water is scarce, and chultuns were positioned in sculpted plazas and sideyards which would drain the precious fluid into the narrow openings for storage.

Therefore there is a very nice Chultun located at Ek Balam, which we photographed and included on this page.

Ek Balam also has a very beautiful arch connecting to a sacbé (white limestone road). In ancient times, these sacbé connected the Maya kingdoms . The arch is found where these sacbes intersect the entrance to the city. The formal entrance was probably via Sacbé 2, where it passed through a structure with arches on all four sides.

Probably, the best time to visit Ek Balam is during a trip to the ruins of Chichen Itza, or the colonial city of Valladolid in the interior of the Yucatán Peninsula.

Getting to the Ek Balam Archaeological Zone is roughly a 2 hour drive from the Riviera Maya and it is located about 40 kilometers north of Valladolid on the road to Rio Lagartos.

To get there from Tulum it is easiest to take the Coba road west, stay on the right, at the Coba ruins exit, and continue on the road to Chemax and Valladolid.

From Cancun it is easiest to take the Cuota road toward Merida and exit at Valladolid, then go north. You will see a sign on the exit ramp.

We traveled North of Valladolid along Highway 295. We were at Ek Balam on February 9, 2004 at about 2PM.

This first page is mainly concerned with the structure called "El Torre" or "The Tower".

YOU HAVE TWO CHOICES:

For touring the majesty of Chichen Itza and/or the newly uncovered Ek Balam, we suggest getting a hotel in either Cancún or Mérida, and then letting them arrange either a car or a tour of Cancún and/or the surrounding areas such as, the newly uncovered Ek Balam and/or Chichen Itza. If you call the hotels Concierge Services ahead of your arrival, all of this can be pre-arranged for you.

We do this all the time, when traveling in Mexico. It is safe and it works!!! We have never experienced a problem doing it this way!

If you choose Cancún, you will use the Cancún International Airport (IATA: CUN, ICAO: MMUN) which is located in Cancún, Quintana Roo, on the Caribbean coast of Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula. It is Mexico's second busiest airport, after Mexico City International Airport in Mexico City, but it is the largest in Mexico and Latin America for International passengers.

We have placed a link to Priceline.com on this page if you wish to arrange your flights into and out of Cancún; as well as your hotel, when visiting this area.

If you choose Mérida, you will use the The Manuel Crescencio Rejón International Airport, formerly known as Mérida-Rejón Airport (IATA: MID, ICAO: MMMD) is the international airport located in the Mexican city of Mérida, Yucatán. It is located on the southern edge of the city.

The airport handles both domestic and international flights, and is open 24 hours a day.

We would then suggest flying into Mérida and staying in one of their many fine hotels when touring Chichen Itza and/or the newly uncovered Ek Balam.

We have links on this page that will connect you with flights into Mérida and several of the best hotels in Mérida.

After getting a flight and a hotel we suggest asking your hotel concierge to arrange either a car or a tour of Chichen Itza, Ek Balam, and/or the Mérida area. If you call their Concierge Services ahead of your arrival, all of this can be pre-arranged for you.

We do this all the time, when traveling in Mexico. It is safe and it works!!! We have never experienced a problem, doing it this way!

Therefore, we have placed links to Priceline.com on this page so you can arrange your flights into and out of Mérida; as well as your hotel, when visiting this area.

El Torre. Ek Balam Archaeological Ruins. Yucatan, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico Tour & Travel Pictures, Photos, Images, Information, & Reviews.
"El Torre" At Ek Balam, Looks Even Larger Close Up!

Ek Balam Archaeological Ruins. Yucatan, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico Tour & Travel Pictures, Photos, Images, Information, & Reviews.
Ek Balam, Looking South From "El Torre".

no one deals like we do! no one deals like we do!

'La Torre'. Ek Balam Archaeological Ruins. Yucatan, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico Tour & Travel Pictures, Photos, Images, Information, & Reviews.Thatched Roof Stucco Frieze. Ek Balam Archaeological Ruins. Yucatan, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico Tour & Travel Pictures, Photos, Images, Information, & Reviews.
"El Torre"
And Part Of Ball Court.
Stucco Work Lies
Beneath Each Thatched Roof.
Thatched Roof Stucco Frieze. Ek Balam Archaeological Ruins. Yucatan, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico Tour & Travel Pictures, Photos, Images, Information, & Reviews.Audrey DeLange On The Central Stairs. Ek Balam Archaeological Ruins. Yucatan, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico Tour & Travel Pictures, Photos, Images, Information, & Reviews.
Thatched Roof Protects The
Stucco Work On Top Left.
Of The Tower.
Audrey DeLange Walking Down
The Central Stairs Of El Torre.
Serpent Emblem. Ek Balam Archaeological Ruins. Yucatan, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico Tour & Travel Pictures, Photos, Images, Information, & Reviews.Serpent Glyph. Ek Balam Archaeological Ruins. Yucatan, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico Tour & Travel Pictures, Photos, Images, Information, & Reviews.
At The First Two Shelters On Way
Up Central Stairway
Left Dual Profile
Serpent Emblem Glyph.
At The First Two Shelters On Way
Up Central Stairway
Right Dual Profile
Serpent Emblem Glyph.
'El Torre'. Ek Balam Archaeological Ruins. Yucatan, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico Tour & TravelPictures, Photos, Images, Information, & Reviews.The Tower. Ek Balam Archaeological Ruins. Yucatan, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico Tour & Travel Pictures, Photos, Images, Information, & Reviews.
"El Torre" Is Really LargeWhat A Structure!
Audrey DeLange Climbing 'El Torre'. Ek Balam Archaeological Ruins. Yucatan, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico Tour & Travel Pictures, Photos, Images, Information, & Reviews.Audrey DeLange Photographing Ek Balam Archaeological Ruins. Yucatan, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico Tour & Travel Pictures, Photos, Images, Information, & Reviews.
Audrey DeLange Climbing
Central Steps Of "El Torre."
Audrey DeLange Photographing
To The Right Of The
Central Steps Of "El Torre."
Photograph. Ek Balam Archaeological Ruins. Yucatan, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico Tour & Travel Pictures, Photos, Images, Information, & Reviews.Ek Balam Archaeological Ruins. Yucatan, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico Tour & Travel Pictures, Photos, Images, Information, & Reviews.
This Is What Audrey Photographed.Main Freize.
Mask Details. Ek Balam Archaeological Ruins. Yucatan, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico Tour & Travel Pictures, Photos, Images, Information, & Reviews.Mask Details. Ek Balam Archaeological Ruins. Yucatan, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico Tour & Travel Pictures, Photos, Images, Information, & Reviews.
Left Of Doorway Mask Details.Right Of Doorway Mask Details.
Mask Details. Ek Balam Archaeological Ruins. Yucatan, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico Tour & Travel Pictures, Photos, Images, Information, & Reviews.Mask Details. Ek Balam Archaeological Ruins. Yucatan, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico Tour & Travel Pictures, Photos, Images, Information, & Reviews.
Left Of Doorway Mask Details.Right Of Doorway Mask Details.
Fangs. Ek Balam Archaeological Ruins. Yucatan, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico Tour & Travel Pictures, Photos, Images, Information, & Reviews.Fang Mask Details. Ek Balam Archaeological Ruins. Yucatan, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico Tour & Travel Pictures, Photos, Images, Information, & Reviews.
Mask Fangs.Fang Mask Details.
Fang Mask Details. Ek Balam Archaeological Ruins. Yucatan, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico Tour & Travel Pictures, Photos, Images, Information, & Reviews.Fang Mask Details. Ek Balam Archaeological Ruins. Yucatan, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico Tour & Travel Pictures, Photos, Images, Information, & Reviews.
Fang Mask Details.Fang Mask Details.
Fang Mask Details. Ek Balam Archaeological Ruins. Yucatan, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico Tour & Travel Pictures, Photos, Images, Information, & Reviews.'Gate To Hell'. Ek Balam Archaeological Ruins. Yucatan, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico Tour & Travel Pictures, Photos, Images, Information, & Reviews.
Fang Mask Details.Gate To Hell !
Tower Court Yard. Ek Balam Archaeological Ruins. Yucatan, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico Tour & Travel Pictures, Photos, Images, Information, & Reviews.Tower Court Yard. Ek Balam Archaeological Ruins. Yucatan, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico Tour & Travel Pictures, Photos, Images, Information, & Reviews.
The Tower Court Yard
Below Mask Frieze.
The Tower Court Yard
Below Mask Frieze.

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