Lamanai

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'Lamanai' means 'submerged crocodile'. It is a Mayan site near the settlement of Indian Church. Some areas of Lamanai have been excavated, while other parts have been restored. There are 60 significant structures on the site, including a large 34 m (112 feet) high late Preclassic building, a small temple and a ball court.

Excavations suggest that Lamanai existed as early as 1500 BC and that it had become a ceremonial center with huge temples, long before most Mayan sites. The Maya themselves lived there right up until the arrival of the Spanish. The remains of two Indian churches testify that the Spanish tried to convert the Maya to Christianity.

Lamanai lies in an archaeological reserve and can be reached by riverboat in the New River from Orange Walk. The boat trip will take you past the Mennonite community of Shipyard and you'll see plenty of crocodiles and an abundant bird life during the 90-minute trip. Lamanai is 70 km north of Belmopan.


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