Top 10 Great Mayan Pyramids

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Pyramids are the hallmark of Mayan culture, one of the greatest civilizations at the beginning of the new era. Pyramids served as religious structures where various rituals were conducted. By the time Europeans arrived, the civilization had declined. However, the Mayan pyramids built before 1000 AD continue to awe even today. It seems that such structures could not have been created by human hands.

1 La Danta Pyramid, 72 m
La Danta Pyramid
This is the tallest of all pyramids left by the Maya. Its height is 72 m. While shorter than some Egyptian pyramids (which reach over 100 m), La Danta is one of the largest structures on the planet with a total volume of 2.8 million cubic meters. It was likely built between 300 to 1000 AD. It is located in the city of El Mirador, now part of Guatemala.

2 Pyramid of the Sun, 71.2 m
Pyramid of the Sun
Slightly shorter than the leader, its height is 71.2 m. It was likely built in the 2nd century AD. The pyramid is two-tiered and located in the ancient city of Teotihuacan, 40 km from Mexico City in Mexico. The name “Teotihuacan” translates to “the place where people became gods,” a title given by the Aztecs who found the city already abandoned. The name “Pyramid of the Sun” was also coined by the Aztecs, believing it was a place where gods landed.

3 Temple IV Pyramid (Tikal), 70 m
Temple IV Pyramid
This Maya pyramid was built in honor of the 27th ruler of Tikal. Its height is 70 m. It was constructed around 741 AD. It is believed that the pyramid may contain the tomb of the ruler it was dedicated to. This is one of the largest buildings constructed by the Maya.

4 Great Pyramid of Cholula, 66 m
Great Pyramid of Cholula
Located in the city of Cholula, this pyramid’s height is 66 m, and its length and width are 450 m. This makes it the largest pyramid in the Americas and the largest man-made structure in the New World. It was likely constructed between 300-800 AD. The local name is Tlachihualtepetl, meaning “man-made mountain.” A church now sits on top of it.

5 El Tigre Pyramid, 55 m
El Tigre Pyramid
Located in El Mirador, Guatemala, this pyramid’s height is 55 m. It was built between 300-1000 AD.

6 Structure I Pyramid, 55 m
Structure I Pyramid
This structure’s height is also 55 m. It can be visited in the Mexican city of Calakmul.

7 Kaana Pyramid, 43 m
Kaana Pyramid
This pyramid is located in the city of Caracol in Belize. Its height is 43 m. It is considered the tallest man-made structure in the country.

8 Pyramid of the Moon, 42 m
Pyramid of the Moon
Built in the 2nd century AD, this pyramid reaches a height of 42 m. Its base length is 150 m. In local languages, the pyramid’s name meant “defensive stone” and “mother.” Beneath its base, another older structure was discovered. A burial chamber was also found deep within the pyramid, containing the remains of 12 individuals.

9 Nojoch Mul Pyramid, 42 m
Nojoch Mul Pyramid
Resembling a small mountain, this structure is located in the Mexican city of Coba. Its height is 42 m. Nojoch Mul was built between 500-900 AD.

10 Kukulkan Pyramid, 30 m
Kukulkan Pyramid
Closing the “top ten” is a 40-meter structure known as Kukulkan Pyramid (El Castillo) in the city of Chunan Tunic in Belize. It was built closer to the decline of the civilization, between 600-900 AD. The pyramid is distinctly divided into sectors and levels.
The mysteries of the Mayan pyramids remain unsolved to this day. Archaeological discoveries continue within them. This is a vast cultural heritage left by the powerful Maya civilization, which existed for over 2,500 years.


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