• SINAFO
    SINAFO
  • SINAFO
    SINAFO
  • SINAFO
    SINAFO
  • SINAFO
    SINAFO
Izapa
Place of the salt river
The ceremonial, political and religious center of Soconusco for nearly a thousand years. Among the vestiges there remain plazas, admirable stelae and altars decorated with remarkable reliefs which experts consider show the evolution from Olmec to Maya art.
About the site
It is possible that the name Izapa is a corruption of the Nahuatl word "Atzacua," meaning "place where water is stored." Another possible derivation is from "Ixtapan," meaning "on top of the sands." Culturally, the city was Mixe–Zoque and Maya. It saw many changes over the centuries, from the Preclassic or Formative to the Postclassic period, that is from 1500 BC till 1200 AD. The stone sculpting era at Izapa ran from the Middle and Late Formative in 650 BC till the Early Classic in 100 AD.

The Mixe–Zoque culture, which was related to Olmec, was present in Izapa, as was Mayan culture, whose characteristics subsequently spread throughout the Mayan region during the Classic. There is evidence of Mexica enclaves, established for the purpose of gathering tribute in the coastal area of Chiapas, in the form of Nahuatl settlement names, and this is evident from Tonalá to El Salvador in Central America. The site’s mounds show a distribution of plazas or patios, which were labeled in their order of excavation, with groups A and B in the center of the core group of monuments, then C, D, E, G and H surrounding this core and F to the north of these groups. Of the above, only groups A, B and F are open to the public.

Izapa was occupied continuously from 1500 BC to 1200 AD. The regular spacing and alignment of the buildings, as well as their consistent features, show that construction followed the same basic plans. At Izapa sculpture served both practical and spiritual purposes, expressing commemorative or mythological ideas about humans or the natural world. The sculptural centerpiece is a mass of stelae and altars, cultural features associated with the most important mounds, which subsequently made their appearance in the Mayan region. Many of these stelae include the portraits of personages from the Popol Vuh legend, a narrative of the ancient creation tradition of the highland Maya. Izapa style covered the coastal areas of modern Chiapas and Guatemala. The style is characterized by stelae carved in bas relief, with a vertical order divided into three planes: the heavens, the earth and the underworld, presenting scenes of deities and personages.
1500 a.C. - 1200

Preclásico Temprano a Posclásico Tardío

Did you know...
  • The stelae feature numerous deities and figures drawn from fantasy: a man-bird, dragons, men or gods emerging from a serpent’s or jaguar’s mouth, rain gods brandishing axes and men venerating the gods.
  • Stela 50 is one of the earliest representations of Ah-Puch, lord of the underworld.
  • The majority of the designs include natural elements as well as celestial and astronomical phenomena. These representations were used both for seasonal rituals and for divination.
  • Stela 21 represents human sacrifice by decapitation in the presence of a great lord seated on a sedan, while Stela 5 has a richly worked cosmological scene: the tree of life uniting the heavens, earth and underworld, the axis around which life revolves.
  • Because of their content, a few of the scenes depicted in the Izapa stelae are seen as precursors to elements of classic Mayan iconography.
Practical information
Temporarily closed
Wednesday to Sunday from 08:00 to 17:00 hrs

Free entry


  • No Smoking
  • No entry with food
  • Pets not allowed
Se localiza a 11 kilómetros de Tapachula, Chiapas y a 7 kilómetros de la frontera con Guatemala.

From the city of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, take the Pan-American Highway 190 towards Tapachula (397 km); Passing Tapachula, the archeological zone is 9 km along the road to to Talisman. Groups A and B are located on the right hand side of the road and group F on the left hand side.

Services
  • Sanitarios
GUIDE
Guide
  • +52 (961) 612 8360
Directory
Encargado
Centro INAH Chiapas
+52 (961) 612 2824, etxs. 168000 y 168001
1683
195_A_000
195_B_000_izapa_sinafo_1
SINAFO
195_B_izapa_fototeca_nacional_1
SINAFO
195_B_izapa_fototeca_nacional_2
SINAFO
195_B_izapa_fototeca_nacional_3
SINAFO
Sureste
Centro ceremonial, político y religioso del Soconusco durante casi mil años. Entre los vestigios de sus plazas es posible admirar estelas y altares con relieves notables que, en opinión de algunos especialistas, representan la evolución del arte olmeca al maya.
The ceremonial, political and religious center of Soconusco for nearly a thousand years. Among the vestiges there remain plazas, admirable stelae and altars decorated with remarkable reliefs which experts consider show the evolution from Olmec to Maya art.
Lugar del río de la sal
Place of the salt river

LEGAL NOTICE

The contents of this website belong to the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia de México, and may be downloaded and shared without alterations, provided that the author is acknowledged and if is not for commercial purposes.

Footer MediatecaINAH

Guardar
Lugares INAH

Idioma