How to get thereBy bus from Campeche, by car from Campeche follow the route signposted "Mérida via Ruinas", driving east on the MEX 180 and then 261 through Chencoyl (42km/26mi) to Cayal where turn south on the MEX 261 for a further 19km/12mi.The excavation site at Edzná is located on the edge of an area known to archaeologists as the "Chenes" region, the name deriving from the "chén" ending (meaning "well") characteristic of many of its place-names. This Mayan site lies in a large scrub-covered valley partly under cultivation, enclosed to the north and east by a chain of low hills.History Recent excavation and research has shown Edzná (Mayan: "house of grimaces") to have been settled as long ago as 400 BC. For example, fortified ditches from the pre-Classic period were found. The city's heyday, however, was undoubtedly during the Mayan Classic period. Stelae uncovered bear dates ranging from ad 435 to 810. No post-Classic development (i.e. post ad 1000) has yet been recorded.In the 1920s the American Sylvanus Morley and the Mexican Enrique Juan Palacios both completed important work on the site. Further research was undertaken in the 1940s by the Mexican archaeologists Alberto Ruz l'Huillier and Raúl Pavón Abreu, the latter continuing with restoration work into the 1950s and 60s. Most recently excavations have been carried out by the New World Archeological Foundation and scientists from the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia. Between 1986 and 1989 the latter in particular were active here under the direction of Pavón Nabreu and Luis Meller Camara. Guatamalan refugees helped with the excavations assisted by funds from the UN.The RuinsThe Edzná archaeological zone covers an area of about 6sq.km/2.25sq.mi. Most of the structures remain unexcavated or have become overgrown again after the original investigations. As occurs frequently in old Mayan architecture, some buildings have had others superimposed - in some cases several times - making them extremely difficult to date. As far as sightseeing is concerned, priority should be given to the structures grouped around the Plaza Central, in the middle of which stands a square altar with a small altarpiece known as "La Picota" on its west side.
El Edificio de los Cinco Pisos
The east side of the plaza is dominated by Edzná's most interesting easily accessible monument, El Edificio de los Cinco Pisos (Five-Storeyed Building). From the almost square base, measuring 60 3 58 m (197 3 190 ft), an external "flying" stairway mounts the pyramid's four lower tiers, each 4.6 m (15 ft) in height. The fifth storey consists of a 5 m (17 ft)-tall temple building crowned by a 6 m (19 ft) roof-comb. The top of the comb reaches 31 m (102 ft) above the ground.The four, chambered, lower storeys are thought to have been priests' quarters, the temple with its altar comprising the actual shrine. The lowest storey is adorned with masonry columns reminiscent of the Río Bec style, while the fourth in contrast boasts the kind of monolithic columns with capitals commonly found in the Puuc region. On the first floor, a passageway with corbel vaulting leading inwards from underneath the stairway gives access to the inner chamber.This impressive structure perfectly illustrates the rather austere style of building typical of Edzná, with plain cornices and unadorned façades. The contrast with the architecture of the Classic Chenes or Puuc sites is very marked. Only the roof-comb could be described as at all ornate, being richly embellished with stucco figures.
Grupo del Centro Ceremonial
Also deserving mention are another group of structures known as the Grupo del Centro Ceremonial, some still awaiting excavation, others reverting to being overgrown. Clustered around a second plaza they include the so-called Great Acropolis (Gran Acrópolis; east side), the Platform of the Knives (Platforma de los Cuchillos; north side), the Big House (Casa Grande or Nohol'na; west side) and the Temple of the South (Templo del Sur; south side).Because parts of Edzná lay below sea level the Maya found themselves forced to install efficient drainage. They solved the problem using an ingenious system of underground channels and cisterns located to the south of the Great Acropolis.
Temple of the Southwest
Occupying the south-west corner of the plaza is the appropriately named Temple of the South-west (Temple del Suroeste) consisting of a rectilinear platform from which sloping walls, reminiscent of Petén architecture, rise to an upper terrace with temple ruins. The Temple of the North-west (Templo del Nordeste) occupies the other corner on the west side.Adjoining the latter is a building which was originally a sweat bath ("temazcalli").
Edzná Riuns - House of the Moon
On the south side of the plaza stands the restored House of the Moon (Casa de la Luna; Mayan: "Paal u'ná"). Flanked either side by six terraces, the wide external stairway ascends to the temple remains on the top.