Mexico was home to the Mayan Civilization well before Spanish invasion in sixteenth century. Numerous cities of that era dot this marvelous country, especially in Yucatan Peninsula. Quite interestingly, ancient Mayan language is still in popular usage in this part of the country along with Spanish. Tourists visit Mexico to have a tour of its vast archaeological treasures.
Most of the prominent Mayan cities are scattered across Yucatan Peninsula. These include Chichen Itza, Ek Balam, El Tajin, Guanajuato, Palenque, Teotihuacan, Tulum and Uxmal. Monte Alban is Zapotec site which is dated back to 500 BC. Ruins at most of these places have been well preserved or their renovation is in progress.
Chichen Itza is the biggest site among all the above mentioned sites. Quite remarkably, it was included in Seven Modern Wonders of the World recently along with other prominent structures worldwide. It remained a major pilgrimage place for Mayans for a major part of the history. One can get amazed at architecture of buildings, which is a mix of Mayan and Toltec styles.
Prominent places in Chichen Itza which are worth visit are The Pyramid of Kukulcan, Temple of the Warriors, Interior Temple, Temple of the Jaguars, High Priest's Grave and Old Chichen. Structures which are over centuries old have been well preserved here. A daily night show is worth watching here. Nearby Caves of Balankanche too are worth visiting for their large selection of idols and pottery.
Ek Balam is renowned for its collection of classic sculptures of late Mayan civilization. Though it is pretty large and has an impressive collection worth seeing, it is largely eclipsed by nearby Chichen Itza which is much larger than it or in fact, larger than any other Mayan era city.
El Tajin is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in state of Veracruz in Mexico. It was inhabited as early as 100 AD and buildings belonging to that era are well preserved here. Many such buildings were mainly used for religious ceremonies. Palenque is another major Mayan era archaeological site in the state of Chiapas. It was inhabited between 600 AD and 800 AD. Numerous ruins of that era can still be seen in a pretty good condition.
Another city of major interest for tourists is Coba, situated in Mexican state of Quintana Roo. Many estimates put the number of its inhabitants at its peak at around 50,000 or even much higher. This number can give an idea about its grandeur and importance during that period. A number of ruins are found here including Nohuch Mul pyramid, Ball court, numerous temples, astronomical observatory and an ancient gallery.
Teotihuacan or City of Gods is located nearby Mexico City. It is renowned for its several small pyramids, Temple of the Moon, Temple of the Sun, Temple of the Quetzacotl and Museo Teotihuacan, a museum. Tulum was another important Mayan city which was visited by kings and clergy for performing religious rituals. Nearby Muyil archaeological site is worth visiting as well.