“Why are there Mayan ruins on the Mérida-Campeche highway?”

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Have you seen Mayan ruins on a highway? If you drive on the Mérida–Campeche highway, also known as federal 180 or the Gulf Coast Highway, you’ll find an unusual sight: a set of unmistakably ancient Mayan buildings.

Are the Mayan ruins on the Mérida-Campeche highway real?

The Mayan ruins seen at kilometers 104 to 110 of the Mérida-Campeche highway are authentic. They are part of an archaeological stop set up in 2012.

The buildings belong to the archaeological zone of Oxkintok, which is only two kilometers from the highway.

The stop consists of five buildings. To the left of the road, in the Mérida-Campeche direction, there is a building in the Early Oxkintok style (300 to 500 AD) and three constructions in the Classic Puuc style (850 to 900 AD). In the central median, which divides both directions, you can see another residential building in the Puuc style, which was moved from its original location for conservation and placed in its current location.

These structures are part of large residential platforms that reach dimensions of 60 meters long by 50 meters wide, on which masonry buildings with vaulted roofs were built around a courtyard.

The stop spans more than 3 kilometers and is located right on the federal highway. It is the result of an agreement and collaboration between the INAH-Yucatán Center and the Ministry of Communications and Transport (SCT).

Can the Mayan ruins on the highway be visited?

You can visit the archaeological stop to explore the ruins and take a photo. There are designated places to park your vehicle and a system of trails that connect to the buildings.

Imagine: instead of stopping at any gas station to stretch your legs, why not do something different and visit an archaeological stop? This site offers a unique combination of rest and historical exploration.

And what is Oxkintok? Oxkintok is one of the most fascinating archaeological zones of the Yucatan Peninsula. It is unique for having covered an extraordinarily long period of time, from 300 BC (Late Preclassic) to approximately 1200 AD (Early Postclassic).

Thanks to this longevity, Oxkintok has been very valuable in recreating the history of the Mayan civilization, due to the large number of cross-references that have been made for different periods and stages.

Another peculiar element of Oxkintok is the architectural kinship with cities like Tikal, in the Guatemalan Petén. This style of pyramids and buildings is not common on the peninsula, so this archaeological zone stands out among the others.

If you have time to visit the entire complex, not just the stop, it is highly recommended. It is open to the public from Monday to Sunday, from 08:00 to 17:00 hrs (last access 16:00 hrs). The entrance fee is $70.00 MXN. On Sundays, entry is free for Mexicans.

Source: Mexico Desconocido