What Makes Mayan Architecture so Impressive?
You don’t have to be a history buff to recognize Mayan culture. It is universally recognizable. What makes Mayan architecture so iconic? Well, it is beautiful and memorable. This post will look at some of the factors that make Mayan architecture stand out.
Mayan architecture wasn’t just about functionality; it was all about style and storytelling. Anybody who has visited the ruins of Mayan monuments can attest to the fact that the external and internal surfaces are filled with hieroglyphs and other artistic designs that tell us about their religious beliefs, cultural practices and the legacies of their ruling dynasties.
And this is just from what we can see from the surviving remains. Experts believe that large painted murals were an integral part of the design for buildings with cultural and spiritual significance.
The Mayans used their architecture to showcase their civilization’s stature and advancements. The pyramids they built thousands of years ago still stand. Tall impressive structures were built on mountains giving them a very imposing effect. Basically, Mayan architecture was an expression of their advancement. The fact that they are still awe-inspiring in this modern age is a testament to their majestic nature.
Most people don’t know this, but Mayan architecture and design were heavily influenced by their spiritual beliefs. For example, most pyramids have 13 entrances to signify the 13 levels of heaven. Buildings could not have an even number of windows and doors, as that was considered to be unlucky.
Similarly, Mayan architecture did not conform to our modern obsession with geometric symmetry. This means that each building was unique in terms of its proportions. This is one of the main ways that Mayan architecture differs from other ‘old world’ cultures, such as the Romans and Greeks.
The Mayans were very particular about building locations. This meant that old building sites were often ‘recycled’ leading to buildings being built on top of existing sites. This has allowed archaeologists to give us a glimpse of how Mayans lived. The underlying constructions have also allowed us to see how their architecture and cultural customs have evolved over the years.
The Mayans had access to limestone, a long-lasting building material, which has allowed their structures to last for thousands of years. Their presence has fueled much of the interest into the Mayan culture and history.
For most of their history, Mayans had no access to metal tools, pulleys and by some expert accounts, they had not yet discovered the wheel. Despite these challenges, they still managed to build multi-storey pyramids and durable structures that we can still view today.