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The term "pyramid" is a geometric reference to the shape of these
construction. The Mayan version of the pyramid is truncated so that
a temple can be built on the top. The ancient Mayans built two types
of pyramids, those that were meant to be climbed and those that were
not. The first type was used for holding sacrificial rituals. The
other type was not meant to be touched and was sacred. The steps on
theses structures were too steep to climb and many times they had
doorways leading to nowhere. During their rituals, the priests would
ascend the pyramid from the earth to the sky by means of staircases.
They believed that this brought them closer to the gods.
These staircases lead from ground level to the temple. The number of
staircases that the pyramids had varied, but there were typically
two or four. Many times there would be a platform connecting the
steps somewhere near the middle of the pyramid so that the
priest-king could stop and do a part of his ritual before continuing
to the top.
Aside from having religious functions, Mayan pyramids also had other
purposes. The pyramids were built so high that their tops could be
seen protruding out of the jungle. Because of this, the Mayan people
were able to use them as landmarks. That was not the only
significance of building them so high though. They also served as a
reminder that the gods were ever present.
Some pyramids even house burial chambers for high ranking officials.
Housed inside these mammoth structures were small burial rooms.
There were narrow corridors that led to these chambers. These burial
chambers often contained treasures such as jade.
To see Mayan
Pyramid videos click here.