Tenam Puente, Chiapas
Tenam Puente is a medium sized Mayan site located in the Mayan Highlands 12 kms south of Comitán in Chiapas. You can easily visit the site by bus or car and will enjoy the views, three ball courts and climbable pyramids and plazas.
“Wall or Fortress”
Tenam means Wall and Puente refers to a 1900’s farm bridge that exited here.
Tenam Puente Fast Facts
Culture – Mayan
Dates of Occupation – Tenam Puente was built in 300 to 600AD, experienced its peak in 600 to 900 AD and survived until 1200 Archeology in Chiapas. It is considered the best example of the transition between the classic and post classic eras.
Location – 12 South of Comitán in Chiapas Mexico.
Elevation – 1700 Meters
First Discovered – Mentioned by Frans Blom and Oliver La Farge in 1928 in their book
Hours: 8 am – 5pm
Cost: 35 pesos
Tenam Puente is a medium size archaeological site with great views and some unique and interesting features. Located in the highlands of Chiapas, Tenam Puente rests high on the hill with views of the Comiteca plain – a strategic location for trade and commerce for the Maya between the Guatemalan highlands with the Mayan Lowlands. It allowed the inhabitants a measure of control over the lucrative and flourishing trade route. Shells from the Gulf coast and ceramics from varying regions have been found here.
The large buildings and temples are built into the hillside on five terraces that were levelled for construction; again strategic and aesthetic views were optimized by the location and strategic planning.
The center core of the site is approximately 30 hectares and contains approximately 60 structures – the most important are what is known now as the Acropolis. From the top of the structures and temples you have long views of the Comiteca plain.
Tenam Puente boasts three different ball courts signifying not only love of the sport but also the prominence of the city. It is speculated that Mayan ball courts were not only used for the game but were also used for entertainment and politics. It is further suggested that ball courts were used as proxy court to settle various commercial and political disputes.
The buildings are also unique in that there was no mortar used to construct and connect the calcareous stone pieces; requiring perfectly cut and fit stone. Stucco was used as a covering. As with other ancient sites in the region, the buildings lack ornamental enhancements – they are quite plain and stark.
A highlight of the visit is climbing the 20 meter high tiered pyramid to the top and relaxing while looking at the commanding view of the highland plain.
You will not feel crowded – likely there will only be a few other people visiting. There are no vendors or hawkers – likely due to the lack of crowds and potential buyers.
Getting there: Drive Mexico 190 South of Comitán to KM and turn West for 7 kms.
Admission – 36 pesos