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The hieroglyphic stairway or Escalinata de los Jeroglificos is the most famous monument of the ancient site of Copan. On the 63 stairs the longest hieroglyphic text in Maya civilization is written in several thousands glyphs. It is like a genealogy tree. The stairway being the the entire western face of the pyramid Temple 26 is erected in 743 under King Smoke Shell. The stairway was initiated to record the dynastic history of the city.
When the stairway was discovered at the end of the 19th century there were only 15 stairs intact. During the reconstruction works in the 1930s, the blocks were mixed up, which makes it unlikely that the true meaning of the glyphs will ever be known. Nowadays the stairway is covered with a roof to be protected against the elelements. It's not allowed to climb the stairs except for archaeological survey.
Above the stairs are five sculptures representing 5 rulers. In the base of the stairway are stela M and an altar.
Directions: Southeast corner of the Plaza Central
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