This large establishment is known as Dzibanche and occupies an extension of a little over 40 square kilometers with diverse architectural conjunctions of enormous monumentality and quality of construction. The original route of the name is unknown and Dzibanche is the place name Thomas Gann gave the site during his visit in 1927. It means literally “writing over wood” and creates the illusion of rubbed polished wood, which until very little ago was still conserved in Building VI and was retired to guarantee its conservation.
Importance and Relevance
This is the largest settlement, and most important, if you are from the Southern part of Quintana Roo. In its golden day, it competed in dimensions and political power with other sites, like the powerful Calakmul, in the neighboring state of Campeche or Ichkabal. The beauty and monumentality of the buildings of Dzibanche document the complexity of the political social system of the Mayan region and are a great example of the architectural development of this area.
Description of the Site
The path through Dzibanche initiates with Building VI, or the Temple of the Threshold (Templo de los Dinteles) which is relatively isolated. The construction stage is conserved in the basement with ornamented bodies with a very similar design of slopes and boards, but with different proportions than in Teotihuacan.
In the superior section you can see a temple that is well preserved corresponding to the second level of construction in which the wood threshold is dated 554. The path leading to the Gann Plaza was named in memory of the first academic visitor to the site. In this area a series of diverse structures are conserved with diverse functions, among which is Building II or Temple of the Cormorant. It has a great rectangular basement, which is a temple, with exceptional ceiling height and length, complemented by a small settlement at the extreme. Above this temple you can appreciate the remains of a cresting, which would have been stacked and profusely decorated.
It complements the distribution of Gann Plaza on structures 10, 11, 12 and 14, which all correspond to residential buildings that were constructed during the classic time (600 – 1000 of this era), and like building number 13 or the Temple of Captives, where there was a basement found with various construction levels: on the first from the early Classic time, you can tell there was a stair built between 850 -1000, in which great big blocks of stone were used, which were taken from an older construction.
The arrangement of the plaza is complemented by Building XVI, otherwise known as the Temple of the Toucan, it is also a building with a large construction sequence in which the Classic architecture can be appreciated. You can tell the difference between the posterior renovations that have been done on the building. On the North East side of Gann Plaza, one can access the Xibalba Plaza, which functioned as a principal Center for the city from early times. It is possible that the original trace corresponds to the Pre-Classic time, around the year 2000 of our era, although the structures today can be seen as being built in the earlier Classic time.
The principal structure of the building is Building 1, or the Temple of Owl, one construction with at least 3 constructive stages. The most notable shows typical molding characteristics of the early Classic era. In this superior section of the basement there is a temple with only one elevation equipped with a banquet. The plaza Xibalba is complemented with two palaces, denominated as north and south, each of which has 9 accesses and act as a possible illusion to the 9 levels of the underworld.
How to arrive
By Car: Take the 186 (Chetumal/Villahermosa) highway out of Chetumal. One you reach the bridge with the intersection take the “Escarcega/Campeche” Exit and continue on it for 37 km. Once you reach the “Quintana Roo Francisco Villa/Garciano Sanchez” turn off take it for approximately 25 km ( 30 minutes). The archeological zone can be found after the town. Turn right at the street sign indicating its entrance. You will find a very narrow road for about 5 km before reaching the site.
Public Transportation: Public transportation is unavailable at this time however we highly recommend either renting a car or hiring a guided tour in order to enjoy a more comfortable trip.