Tazumal is a unique complex located in the southern portion of the ancient Mesoamerican city of Chalchuapa, in western El Salvador. It’s uniquenesses from three factors: architecture, alignment, and artifacts.
Tazumal’s architecture is unique because construction, which began during the Mayan Preclassic period (<250 CE), was interrupted by the eruption of the Ilopango volcano. Construction was not continued for several generations, until some time in the Early to Middle Classic periods (250-650 CE). Because of this break, the Tazumal buildings are significantly larger than the other buildings in the complex, nearly matching other Preclassical ruins in size. The other aspect of it’s architecture that makes Tazumal unique is it’s alignment. All of the Tazumal buildings face west.
Lastly, artifacts found at Tazumal, particularly green obsidian, suggest stronger links with Mexico than were previously thought to have existed. In fact, archaeologists believe that Tazumal was responsible for extending Mayan reach as far as Teotihuacan. Other Mexican artifacts found here include chacmool sculptures, a jaguar effigy sculpture, and an anthropomorphic sculpture depicting the central Mexican deity Xipe Totec.
Learn more about El Salvador, including other Top Destinations, Major Cities, hotels, and restaurants in our El Salvador Travel Guide.
Before You Go…
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