Plaza sur, ek'balam, Yucatan, Mexico
The city of ek'balam took its name from the noble person-leader with the same name and meaning "black jaguar." Only the very special people used that name since jaguars, and especially black ones, are highly valuable in Maya society. The large pyramid in the distance has a huge molded jaguar mouth clearly visible from where this photos were taken. All of the structures on this south plaza are from the most important cultural period - late classic [700-900 ad] but the city itself existed much earlier. Most of the buildings were built over older ones, sometimes using stones from the demolished ones. Stones were not carved as in some other Maya cities [like old Chichen Itza] but covered with molded stucco and richly painted both inside and out. The remains of the bright paint are still visible on some spots.
The atmosphere in this ceremonial square surrounded by very important buildings is hard to imagine now without people and colours. Most of the structures are of a religious character but some of them were used as a living quarters for the select few. Modern climbers on these pyramids are complaining for unpleasant height of the stairs. their main purpose was to be stands for various Mayan ceremonies performed on the square. Interestingly this square being unique and used quite differently from the squares we are used to in Western civilization, still have that sense of special gathering space. The famous stone sculpture with a head inside the serpent's mouth is found in the so-called twin pyramid with two temples on the top.
This same panorama in quite different format is used in one of my new attempts re:Art – art rediscovered, renewed and reused, interventions that are extending heritage art experiences. [http://urbanreart01.urbansquares.com/05bluegreen.html]