|South Facing Side Of Tonina Looking Due North|
Toniná, a Mayan ruin just outside of Ocosingo, a couple of hours' drive from San Cristóbal in the state of Chiapas.
The center of Tonina is built on the side of a large hill in seven terraces producing the overall effect of a stepped pyramid. Numerous chambers and passageways exist and there are several buildings located in front of the main complex which may have been used in conjunction with structures on the main buildings.
A map of Tonina is on the next page.
Tonina is nestled at a 2,950 feet elevation and one can often see the clouds roll in and stand above them at this lofty site. Tonina is thought to have been built by an astronomical society, the area belongs to the lowland tradition.
It is believed that Toniná formed into an organized settlement around 300 A.D, and the the height of its development occurred between 600 and 900 A.D. The site is dominated by a terraced Acropolis with a number of temple platforms surrounded by plazas, ball courts and several other smaller structures. Within the Acropolis is the Frieze of the Dream Lords, a large 16 x 4 meter stucco wall on which are depicted many other-worldly creatures corresponding to the rulers of Toniná, the Palace of the Flowered Throne and the stone relief at the Temple of the Earth Monster. At the foot of the Acropolis lies a structure riddled with small rooms and passageways called the Palace of the Underworld.
The following description is translated from a sign at the Site Of Tonina.
Named by indigenous people in Tzeltal, Toniná means the House of Stone. Metaphorically, the name refers to the home of celestial lights and deities of time: Toniná was a site of calendars and rituals.
Iconography of this site is representative of two eras, which are clearly identified by references to particular deities: the first and oldest period, from 300 to 700 AD, was responsible for portrayals of birds belonging to the underworld and was governed by deceased and flayed suns. The second epoch, from 700 to 900 AD, is marked by celestial lights and felines, as well as the morning and evening stars.
In the height of its glory, around 900 AD, Toniná's pyramidal structure was composed of seven platforms and was crowned by thirteen temples; a central stairway, leading to the Temple of Smoking Mirror, reaches a total of 260 steps.
Palaces inhabited by Toniná's dynastic families (including military heads, architects, priests and astronomers) were constructed in the eastern portion of the acropolis. This area was lavishly decorated, in contrast with the acropolis' western section, where construction workers and warriors lived in austere dwellings. From the four temples of the seventh platform, priests and nobles managed the four regions of the sky, fought battles against darkness and maintained order regarding celestial phenomena.
At first we thought we could photograph all of Tonina. Bad idea, it is just too large and interesting! There are many plazas, temples, courts, and other nooks and crannies. Our photos were taken on January 31, 2004 between 2-5 PM.
SPECIAL NOTE: New evidence now proves that the Tonina Pyramid is now the Largest Pyramid in all of Mexico !!
Recent excavations at Tonina by archaeologists from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History have shown the Maya city to be twice as large as thought, with clearly defined districts, including areas of palaces, temples, housing, and administration.
It had been thought that the Tonina acropolis had been built on a hill, but the excavations have shown that the mound covers a pyramid more than 240 feet tall, with 208 stone steps from its base to its apex.
This is according to Emiliano Gallaga, director of the site.
Emiliano Gallaga also says that "more than 300 hieroglyphic texts have also been found. Some of them reveal the names of city rulers."
We suggest getting a hotel and then letting them arrange either a car or a tour of Toniná, San Cristóbal de las Casas, or Tuxtla Gutierrez. If you call their Concierge Services ahead of your arrival, all of this can be pre-arranged for you.
We do this all the time, when traveling in Mexico. It is safe and it works!!! We have never experienced a problem, doing it this way!
The San Cristóbal de las Casas National Airport (Spanish: Aeropuerto Nacional de San Cristóbal de las Casas) (IATA: SZT, ICAO: MMSC) is the airport located 11 miles from the city of San Cristóbal de las Casas in the state of Chiapas, Mexico. It is operated by Aeropuertos y Servicios Auxiliares (English: Airports and Auxiliary Services), a corporation of the federal government. It is also known as the Corazón de María Airport.
This airport is little used because the Angel Albino Corzo International Airport (serving Tuxtla Gutierrez) is located only 50 minutes away.
The Angel Albino Corzo International Airport (IATA: TGZ, ICAO: MMTG) is the new international airport located at the Mexican municipality of Chiapa de Corzo, Chiapas. It currently only operates as a Domestic airport (it does not have a Customs or Immigration office). It handles air traffic for the city of Tuxtla Gutiérrez and central Chiapas.
The Holiday Inn® San Cristóbal is a nearby renovated hacienda that has been accommodating guests since 1907. It has stucco walls, colonial architecture and a beautifully designed central courtyard.
|Cattle Ranches And Macadamia Plantations Surround Tonina|
|Tonina Looking North From South Plaza Area|
|Painting Of Tonina's Second Epoch, The "Era Of Celestial Lights"|
|After Walking About|
A Half Mile
We Step Into
On The Ruins
|We Then Step|
OntoThe Grand Plaza
Ballcourt In A.D. 699
At Ball Court
|Looking Back Toward|
From Which We
Had Just Left
|Looking North Toward|
The Terraced Hillside
Ruins Of Tonina
|To The West Is|
Altar Of Sacrifices
In Front Of The
|First Level Terrace|
North Part Of
|Looking East On|
First Level Terrace
|Passage Labyrinth Entrances|
Are On Right
Also Called "Palace
Of The Underworld"
|Entrance To Labyrinth|
Of The First
Of The Hillside Terrace
|Passage Labyrinth Map|
Are Not Shown
Looking South At
Cross Shaped Window
These Passages Are Quite Extensive
|Located On The|
Face Of The
Of The Palace Of Grecas
Is The Zig Zaged
Cross Design Said
To Represent Quetzalcoatl
|To the Right Up A|
Stair Is A Throne
With Jaguar Paw Legs
And A Stucco
Mural Said To
|Tonina Mayan Ruins Page Two
|Tonina Mayan Archaeological Ruins Museum
|Parque La Venta, Olmec Ruins, Villahermosa
|La Venta, Olmec Ruins, Tabasco
|Jalapa Museo de Antropologia, Veracruz
|San Lorenzo Tenochtitlan (Tenochtitlán)|
Olmec Archaeological Ruins Museum
|El Azazul, Olmec Ruins, Veracruz
|Izapa Olmec / Maya Ruins, Chiapas
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