Pronounced EEshim CHAY
. An easily-accessible Guatemala
n ruins of an old Maya
n city. Iximche was the capitol of the Cakchiquel kingdom of the Mayans, and functioned as a city from 1470 until 1524, when conquistador
s conquored the Cacique
s. Until Antigua
was built, the location of Iximche served as the site of the first Spanish settlement on Guatemalan soil, called Santiago
While it is not as impressive as Tikal, Iximche still provides an excellent example of old Mayan ruins. From walking around the area, it appears that some excavation has been performed on certain areas in the west, but the east is still mostly underground.
At the far eastern end of the ruins, back in the woods, is a large pile of rocks from an old temple. Modern Mayan Guatemalans will place offerings on the stones, and light candles in rememberance here. No one will complain if you go to look at it, but watch your step when you do, as me and my fellow Gringos accidentally desecrated some symbols scratched into the ground by previous visitors (Curse-wise, we are all still fine).
To get to Iximche, take the Pan American Highway west out of Guatemala City towards Panajachel and through Antigua. Signs will eventually steer you left off the highway, through the small town of Tecpan.
Weird fact: At the same time that my family and I visited Iximche, there was also a large Mennonite contingency that was picnicing at the site and wandering among the ruins. I do not know if this is usual or not.
I found some good images of Iximche at the sites below: