Maya City

A Maya City is defined as the centre of pre-Columbian Maya civilization of Mesoamerica. The Maya cities had a tendency to be more dispersed than cities in other societies found across the world. The primary aim of settlement was upon a lowland tropical environment that allowed for food production. The cities also tended to be located in places that would allow for them to control trade routes or that could support the supply of essential products, in turn the elites were able to control trade and increase their wealth. The architectural significance of these early Mayan Cities which were blessed with the ability to construct public temples for ceremonies, thus attracting inhabitants to the city. With all of these attributes it allowed for the Mayan Cities to eventually develop into the capital cities of the Early Maya states.

Going into deeper context of the architectural organization of Maya cities I wanted to further examine the development of these settlements. I found that most Maya cities had the tendency to expand outwards from the cities, along with growing upwards. As buildings collapsed, new structures were built above the pre-existing structures making the city rise vertically as the city expanded over time. All Mayan city centres featured sacred precincts, surrounded by residential areas and often times walls. The sacred precincts contained pyramidal temples, they supported administrative and elite complexes. These complexes were built to record and contain the deeds of the ruling dynasty. The centres of these cities were found to contain plazas, sacred ball courts were found nearly everywhere resembling modern day recreational parks, along with buildings used for marketplaces and schools. The organizational significance of the Maya cities were advanced for the time period in which they originated, in turn making them the Mesoamerican power that still to this day is recognized as some of the greatest civilizations of their time period. They incorporated outlying roads used for trade purposes and travel, linking cities to one another. The routes linking Mayan powers enabled them to control smaller settlements expanding their empire across the Mesoamerica. Through excavations over the past centuries art has been extracted from these elite residential complexes varying in quality according to the rank of the lineage that resided there. With the largest and richest of these compounds possessed sculptures and craftsmanship of art equal to that of royal art. These early Mesocamerican civilizations still to this day remain amongst the most powerful strcutral forces amongst any of their time. The power that each Mayan ruler held was what I found to be most intriguing, and pushed me to want to learn more of the organizational structure and prestige of these early Mesoamerican civilizations.