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End of the Maya calendar: the architectural wonders that remain

After a discovery made at an anthropological site in Guatemala confirming the 'end date' of the Maya Calendar, speculation has swarmed the streets of every city in every country, as to whether the world will end this December 21, 2012.

Steeped in tradition and ancient history, HELLO! Online explores the indigenous regions of Belize, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, whose modern communities use the Maya calender system, practised since the 5th century BC and where the main maya influences were first detected.

From the architectural masterpiece of Chichen Itza pyramid to the man-made wonders of Kabah, discover the treasures of the Mayan world who created complex heiroglyphic writing and transformed not only art and architecture, but mathematical and astronomical technology.

Formerly known as 'British Honduras', Belize, located on the north eastern coast of Central America, is the only country in the area where English is the official language. The most famous temple of Cerros, which is the Mayan archeological site in Belize, juts out into the Bay of Chetumal / Belize Tourism 

Kabah, the Mayan site on the Yucatan peninsula, is best known for its extraordinary palace – "Palace of the Masks" – which dates back to around the 9th century and is completely covered in masks of the hook-nosed rain god Chac. The massive repetition of a single set of elements is unusual in Mayan art, and here is used for a unique effect / Tourism Mexico 

In the extraordinary ruins of Copan, located in Western Honduras, you will find Hieroglyphs, stelae and delicately sculpted embossed scenes that tell stories / Tourism Honduras 

Recognised as a Mayan archaeological site in the Mexican state of Campeche, Calakmul is one of the most important cities of the Mayan lowlands with more than 50,000 inhabitants and is now a World Cultural Heritage site / Tourism Mexico 

Hundreds of pre-Columbian cities created by Maya civilisation which relate to the 'end of the world' such as Palenque, Izapa and Chichen Itza, have been of particular interest to Hollywood and social networking sites 

Bonampak is a Maya archaeological site in the Mexican state of Chiapas. The name Bonampak in the Mayan language translates to ''painted walls" and this is certainly the main attraction to these archaeological Mexican paintings in The Temple of the Murals. They describe the story of a battle, its aftermath and the victory celebration. It is located in the heart of the Lacandon jungle and was one of the most important cities of the Late Classical period, between the year 600 and 800 / Tourism Mexico 

On the eastern coast of Yucatan lies the ruins of the Maya city, Tulum, Mexico. Tulum differs to the other Mayan cities because of its unique city walls and the word Tulum itself translates to wall or fence. You can also view the castle from here which is the tallest and largest temple on the Tulum ruins site, and of course the Temple of the Wind / Tourism Mexico 

Chichen Itza was the most important city of the Mayan culture between 900 to 1300 AD. During the equinoxes, the pyramid of Kukulcan (feathered serpent), which was the most important building of the reservoir and built by the ancient Mayan civilisation was used to calculate the change of season / Tourism Mexico 

An ancient Mayan city of the classical period, the name Uxmal translates to "thrice built" or "three crops" and is located in the Puuc hills. Uxmal is renowned for its Mayan architectural design. Its buildings are typical of the Puuc style – ornately decorated with smooth low walls and typical Mayan hut style / Tourism Mexico 

Copán, located in western Honduras, was the capital city of a major Classic period kingdom from the 5th to 9th centuries AD. It is known for its impressive stone carvings and in particular portrait stelae / Tourism Honduras 

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