Home LifestyleArt and Culture Xcambo: Ancient Mayan City of Salt and Trade

Xcambo: Ancient Mayan City of Salt and Trade

by Yucatan Times
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Xcambo is an ancient Mayan city located near the coast of Yucatan, Mexico. It was founded around 350 BCE and reached its peak between 600 and 900 CE, during the Classic Period. Xcambo was a major center of salt production and trade, exchanging this valuable commodity with other Mayan cities across the peninsula. Its name means “place where barter is done” or “celestial crocodile” in Maya.

Xcambo covers an area of 700 by 150 meters, and has several plazas, pyramids, temples and residential buildings. The main plaza is where the largest structures are found, such as the Pyramid of the Masks, which has two stucco masks on its facade representing the sun god Kinich Ahau. Another notable building is the Temple of the Virgin, a modern chapel built in the last century inside the archaeological site. It is dedicated to a virgin that supposedly appeared only to the faithful.

Xcambo Archaeological Site near Progreso. (PHOTO: Robert Adams)

Xcambo was connected by land with other archaeological sites in Yucatan, such as Dzibilchaltun and Izamal, indicating its importance and influence. It also had access to the sea, where it exploited the salt flats and traded with coastal communities. Salt was a vital resource for the Maya, as it was used for preserving food, seasoning dishes, making offerings and paying tribute.

Stewart Mandy at Xcambo Yucatán (Photo: Stewart Mandy)

Xcambo is open to visitors every day from 8 am to 5 pm. The admission fee is $75 MXN for foreigners and free for Mexican citizens on Sundays and certain groups. The best time to visit is between May and June or September and October, when there are fewer crowds and good weather. Xcambo is a fascinating place to explore the history and culture of the Maya, as well as enjoy the natural beauty of the Yucatan coast.

TYT Newsroom

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