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Xunantunich, the Mayan Castle in Belize

Remaxvipbelize : Xunantunich a Mayan ceremonial center

WowBelize recently visited Xunantunich, a Mayan ceremonial center located atop a ridge above the Mopan River, this Mayan center was settled in the early phases of the Preclassic period.

The settlement is located on the west side of the Cayo district, just 1 km away from the Guatemalan border. In Maya language, “Xunantunich” translates to “Stone Woman” referring to the ghost of a woman with glowing eyes that appeared to locals on this archeological site. Xunantunich’s center consists of six plazas surrounded by more than 26 temples, the main temple “El Castillo” (The castle) is the second largest building in Belize and offers a tremendous view of the country, on a clear day, Guatemala can be seen as well.

It is believed that hundreds of small houses were located all around the six plazas and housed more than

Xunantunich is an ancient mayan city in Belize.
View from the top of el Castillo, the highest point in Xunantunich

200,000 Mayan people. Being close to the river the Mayan community was self-sufficient and spread out widely throughout the land.

Xunantunich was abandoned due to an unknown event in 750 AD

To get here, one must drive to the Cayo district in the west side of Belize, or take a bus from Belmopan to San Ignacio. When taking a bus, tell the driver specifically where you’re headed to, they will stop at the Ferry station that takes you to Xunantunich. The ferry waiting for you is a hand-cranked vessel that takes one car at a time, after crossing the Mopan river on the ferry,  a one mile walk will take you to this Ancient Mayan site. Make sure to take a camera with you along the road, as some great sights await you during your trip to this ancient Mayan city.

Souvenirs are sold just below the 6 plazas, there is a $10 BZ fee charged by NICH(National Institute of Culture and Heritage) when entering Xunantunich.

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Explore Xunantunich, an ancient mayan city uncovered in Belize. Next to the Mopan river, these ancient ruins are visited yearly by archaeologists trying to decipher the ancient Mayan way of life.
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Belize National Symbols

Remaxvipbelize: keel_billed_toucan birdlistorg

If you’ve ever wondered the meaning behind the Belizean flag, or the meaning for “sub umbra floreo”, then you came to the right place. Read more on the Belize National Symbols on this article, starting with the flag:

The red, white and blue flag of Belize is a symbol unity. Before independence, citizens submitted designs for a National Flag that could join the country regardless of their political viewpoints. The current design was selected by the National Symbols Committee.

Coat of Arms

The shield at the center of this symbol is divided into three sections. The bottom section depicts a ship in full sail, the upper sections show tools of the logging industry in Belize, as well as a paddle and an axe. Two woodcutters support the shield while holding a paddle and an axe, these woodcutters are under the shade of the mahogany tree. A wreath of leaves encircles the symbol, below the shield is the motto “Sub Umbra Floreo” . These words, in Latin, mean “Unter the shade I flourish.” The Coat of Arms embodies an important aspect of the history of Belize, the mahogany tree formed the basis of Belize’s economy in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Belize National Symbols — The National Flower

The Black Orchid (Encyclia Cochleatum) is the National Flower of Belize. This beautiful flower grows on trees in damp areas, you can find this exotic specimen while exploring the Belizean jungles, all year round.

National Tree

The Mahogany Tree (Swietenia Macrophilla) rises tall over many other trees with a crown of shining, large, green leaves. The tree can be seen from great distances. It is one of the magnificent giants of the forest.The mahogany tree matures in 60 to 80 years. Beginning in the middle of the 17th century, British settlers exploited the forest for mahogany. It was originally exported to the United Kingdom in the form of squared logs, but shipment now consists mainly of sawed lumber.

National Bird

(Ramphastos Solfurantus) The Keel Billed Toucan, is the National Bird of Belize. Brightly colored ith amazing red, black, and yellow colors on its feathers, this bird uses its great canoe-shaped bill with serrated edges to cut and eat fruit. The toucan emits a loud sound that might be confused for a frog’s croak, keel billed toucans can reach 20 inches in overall length. These birds nest in the jungle, in treeholes made by woodpeckers. Their nesting stage lasts six to seven weeks.  They lay two to four eggs which are incubated by both parents.

 Belize National Symbols — The Tapir

National Animal

The Tapir (Tapirello Bairdii) is the largest land mammal of the American tropics, due to this fact, it is also known as the “Mountain Cow”, and is a part of the Belize National Symbols. The tapir spends much of its time on water and rivers, which makes it a strong swimmer. Protected under Belizean law, the tapir is closely related to the horse and rhinoceros. A vegetarian, this mammal can weigh up to 600 pounds.

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Tapirs, jaguars, keel billed toucans, wild orchids and the mahogany tree. These are the symbols that make Belize a wonderful diverse country. Learn more about the national symbols of Belize.