Explore a different destination UNESCO World Heritage Site Maya Site of Copán, Honduras


Copán Sculptured Clay Incense Burner Lid
Copán Sculptured Clay Incense Burner Lid
Author: Talk2winik (public domain)


Replica of Rosalila Temple, Copán Sculpture Museum
Replica of Rosalila Temple, Copán Sculpture Museum
Author: Talk2winik (public domain)

The Maya Site of Copán is an important Maya archaeological site in the Copán Department, in western Honduras, near the border with Guatemala.

Copán was a Maya site for over two thousand years, spanning from the Early Preclassic period right through to the Postclassic. It reached its peak in the 5th to 9th century AD, when it was a Mayan capital of a Classic period kingdom. It is located at the very edge of the Mesoamerican cultural region, almost surrounded by non-Maya ethnic groups.

The name Copán is a modern name. During the Mayan time, it was probably known as Oxwitik. At the height of its glory Copán suffered a major setback when one of its greatest kings, Uaxaclajuun Ub'aah K'awiil, was captured and executed by the king of Quiriguá, his former vassal. It turned the table on Copán which subsequently became a vassal state to Quiriguá, remaining so for the following eighteen years. The ruins of Quiriguá, located in Guatemala, is today also recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Maya site of Copán is located beside the Copán River, which has eroded some of the monuments, particularly those on the eastern part of the acropolis. The river had to be diverted to present further damage to the ruins.

Maya Site of Copán was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site during the 4th session of the World Heritage Committee held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France, on 1-5 September, 1980.

Photos of Maya Site of Copán

Temple 22, Copán, Honduras
Temple 22, Copán, Honduras
Author: Talk2winik (public domain)

World Heritage Site Inscription Details

Location: N 14 51 00 W 89 08 00
Inscription Year: 1980
Type of Site: Cultural
Inscription Criteria: IV, VI

Location Map of Maya Site of Copán

The Maya Site of Copán is number 1 on the map.


View UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Honduras in a larger map

Visiting Maya Site of Copán

You can reach Copán by bus from San Pedro Sula, the second largest city in Honduras, and from Guatemala. Shuttle buses from Antigua, Guatemala costs between US$7 to US$12.


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