This article was last modified on July 19th, 2021 at 1:12 pm
Archeological site and former Mayan Capital in Tecpán Guatemala
Former capital of the Kaqchikel Maya, the city of Iximché was built in the 14th century AD in what is now known as Tecpán Guatemala. The site includes several Mayan pyramids and hundreds of structures including Mayan ceremonial sites that are used to this day. The Mayan Ruins of Iximché is a great stop for those interested in Mayan Culture on our two day Tecpán – Pana Mountain Bike tour.
Around 1400AD, faced with expansion from their K’iche’ rivals, the Kaqchikel moved from present-day Chichicastenango to the more easily defended area in modern Tecpán. They built the city atop a steep cliff, protected on three sides by deep canyons. Iximche was established a mere 50 years before the arrival of the Spanish, who would enlist the Kaqchikel as allies in their quest to conquer the K’iche’ and other Mayan peoples during the conquest. The Spanish would hold the city for a brief period of time, making it the first official capital of Guatemala before moving to what is now Antigua.
Place of the Trees
The name Guatemala comes from Náhuatl Quauhtemallan, ‘place of many trees’. When the spanish arrived they brought with them mexican Nahuas slaves as translators. When the Spanish and their slaves arrived in the Mayan City of Iximché the locals referred to as Quauhtitlan, which means “between the trees”. The Kaqchikel got incorrectly translated into Nahual, although the meanings are similar. It can be inferred that Guatemala got its very name from this site in what is now modern day Tecpán.