UNESCO World Heritage
UNESCO World Heritage Site

Calakmul Maya City

Have you been?

First visited by us on February 26, 2020
TL;DR: Calakmul is located on the Yucatán Peninsula, in southern Mexico. It is the ancient remains of this huge Maya city buried deep in the tropical forest. From 500 BC to 1000 AD the Maya civilization peeked here. Then it was suddenly abandoned and has been for 1000 years. It's also the third-largest biodiversity hotspot in the world and home to jaguars and pumas.

All about the

Calakmul Maya City

UNESCO World Heritage Site

Welcome to our collected information about the UNESCO World Heritage Site officially known as “Ancient Maya City and Protected Tropical Forests of Calakmul, Campeche”! If you travel here and ask about it, the site is in Calakmul known as Antigua Ciudad Maya y Bosques Tropicales Protegidos de Calakmul, Campeche. We call it Calakmul Maya City or just Calakmul.
[ ˌkɑːlɑːkˈmuːl ]

Lost City of the Two Pyramids

Our UNESCO
World Heritage Site
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Where is Calakmul

So far we have made three fantastic trips to this beautiful and diverse continent. The adventures have been to some very different places. Our first was to the North West, to Morocco. The next was to the island country, Cape Verde. Our latest adventure was truly an adventure, we spent about two weeks in Tanzania.
America, North
Mexico
Campeche

How small big large HUGE v-a-s-t is it

331397
1 Hectare is 0.01 km² and 0.004 mi²

3,314.0

1 km² is 100 Hectare and 0.386 mi²

1,279.5

1 mi² is 259 Hectare and 2.589 km²

Why is Calakmul
a World Heritage Site

World Heritage Type

Cultural

Natural

Mixed

Read

This

Calakmul is the ancient remains of this huge Maya city are buried deep in the second-largest tropical forest in America. It’s uninhabited and covered by tropical forest but from about 500 B.C. to about A.D. 1000, the Maya civilization peeked here. It was suddenly abandoned for still unknown reasons 1000 years ago. Thanks to this it still has many of its most magnificent buildings standing. Calakmul is also a biodiversity hotspot, the third-largest in the world with the most wildlife of the entire Mayan region. Monkies, edentates and wild cats like jaguar and puma, are all found here.

UNESCO's  6 Why

Cultural Reason #1
Cultural Reason #2
Cultural Reason #3
Cultural Reason #4
Natural Reason #9
Natural Reason #10
Here you find the mostly intact remains of the Maya civilization in the middle of the jungle. 1500 years of history in one place, from 500 BC to 1000 AD. The architecture, writing, monuments and arts gives us an amazing insight into how they lived and evolved in the deep jungle.
Calakmul was the largest site in the area. There are 120 memorial stones with relief carvings. The inscriptions give us information about the history, politics and how the Maya were organized. It wasn't an isolated site, here you can clearly see how the different neighbours influenced each other in all aspects of life.
Here you can see how amazingly fast the Maya civilization grew. It came to a sudden end about 1000 years ago. Since then Calakmul was abandoned and eventually forgotten. It has been untouched, frozen in time, since then. This gives the unique opportunity to get to understand how the Maya civilization was founded, how it could grow so fast, and why it in the end collapsed.
Calakmul has Maya monumental architecture you cannot find anywhere else. The huge pyramids in the centre are built in the Peten tradition. The outskirts are in the later Rio Bec style with twin tower false pyramid temples, decorated with stone mosaic façades. This was the time of the Kaan, one of the most powerful Maya royal dynasties. They moved the Maya capital from Dzibanché to Calakmul.
The old tropical forests of Calakmul shows us how the Maya lived with nature. What is there today is thanks to how the Maya grew both food and forest, and how they used the land they lived in. Calakmul is also an important area for naturally storing water underground. This was a key factor in the success of the Maya Culture.
The Calakmul forest is home to many plants and endangered animals. Some that only exist here. This is a region with little rain, but with plenty of forest fires and hurricanes. The ground is made of karst, without rivers or lakes. This makes it hard for both plants and animals to live here. Despite this, the area has the most wildlife in the entire Mayan region. 2/3 species of monkies, 2/4 species of edentates, and 5/6 wild cats existing in Mexico all live here.
Masterpiece of Human Creative Genius
Interchange of Human Values
Testimony to Cultural Tradition or Civilisation
Significant Stage in Human History
Significant Ecological & Biological Process
Significant Natural Habitat for Biodiversity

World Heritage Protection Status

Protected

Endangered

Lost

Timeline for the Calakmul World Heritage Site

6th century AD

Creation

Calakmul was physically created.

1931

Established

Calakmul was established.
2000-12-02

Tentative

Mexico nominated Calakmul Maya City to become a World Heritage Site.

2002-06-29

Inscribed

The application from Mexico was approved and Ancient Maya City and Protected Tropical Forests of Calakmul, Campeche officially became a World Heritage Site.

2014-06-25

Inscription Changed to "bis"

Things change. So did things for Ancient Maya City and Protected Tropical Forests of Calakmul, Campeche. The protected tropical forests of Calakmul were included in the site. Because of this there are some letters after the UNESCO Reference Number 1061. After this update, Calakmul’s is bis.
2020-02-26

Visited by us!

Landmark event, obviously! Our first visit to the Ancient Maya City and Protected Tropical Forests of Calakmul, Campeche World Heritage Site. This was our 119 site visited out of the 128  we have travelled to so far.

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Calakmul Maya City UNESCO World Heritage Site in Campeche, Mexico
Calakmul Maya City UNESCO World Heritage Site in Campeche, Mexico
Calakmul Maya City UNESCO World Heritage Site in Campeche, Mexico
Calakmul Maya City UNESCO World Heritage Site in Campeche, Mexico
Calakmul Maya City UNESCO World Heritage Site in Campeche, Mexico
Calakmul Maya City UNESCO World Heritage Site in Campeche, Mexico
Calakmul Maya City UNESCO World Heritage Site in Campeche, Mexico
Calakmul Maya City UNESCO World Heritage Site in Campeche, Mexico
Calakmul Maya City UNESCO World Heritage Site in Campeche, Mexico
Calakmul Maya City UNESCO World Heritage Site in Campeche, Mexico
Calakmul Maya City UNESCO World Heritage Site in Campeche, Mexico
Calakmul Maya City UNESCO World Heritage Site in Campeche, Mexico
Calakmul Maya City UNESCO World Heritage Site in Campeche, Mexico
Calakmul Maya City UNESCO World Heritage Site in Campeche, Mexico
Calakmul Maya City UNESCO World Heritage Site in Campeche, Mexico
Calakmul Maya City UNESCO World Heritage Site in Campeche, Mexico
Calakmul Maya City UNESCO World Heritage Site in Campeche, Mexico
Calakmul Maya City UNESCO World Heritage Site in Campeche, Mexico
Calakmul Maya City UNESCO World Heritage Site in Campeche, Mexico
Jana+Matt are GuideVenturous. Here sitting on top of Structure 1 in Calakmul, Mexico.
Calakmul Maya City UNESCO World Heritage Site in Campeche, Mexico
Calakmul Maya City UNESCO World Heritage Site in Campeche, Mexico
Calakmul Maya City UNESCO World Heritage Site in Campeche, Mexico
Calakmul Maya City UNESCO World Heritage Site in Campeche, Mexico
Calakmul Maya City UNESCO World Heritage Site in Campeche, Mexico
Calakmul Maya City UNESCO World Heritage Site in Campeche, Mexico
Calakmul Maya City UNESCO World Heritage Site in Campeche, Mexico
Calakmul Maya City UNESCO World Heritage Site in Campeche, Mexico
Calakmul Maya City UNESCO World Heritage Site in Campeche, Mexico
Jana+Matt are GuideVenturous. Here sitting on top of Structure 1 in Calakmul, Mexico.
Calakmul Maya City UNESCO World Heritage Site in Campeche, Mexico
Calakmul Maya City UNESCO World Heritage Site in Campeche, Mexico
Calakmul Maya City UNESCO World Heritage Site in Campeche, Mexico
Calakmul Maya City UNESCO World Heritage Site in Campeche, Mexico
Calakmul Maya City UNESCO World Heritage Site in Campeche, Mexico