Almost 30 kilometres north of Valladolid, at the heart of the Yucatán Peninsula, is Ek Balam, meaning “black jaguar” – one of the most attractive archaeological sites in the region. The site is made up of 45 structures surrounded by two walls (originally three), and inside we can find all kinds of buildings which were mainly the residences of the elite.
This settlement was known as Talol, an important city which dates back to 300 BC, although the majority of the buildings correspond to the classical period. The most interesting element is probably its acropolis, as it is the largest building, perfectly preserving the plaster friezes which emulate distant figures. On the inside, we find the tomb of Ukit Kan Le'k Tok'. It is highly recommended to climb to its summit to observe the views. We can also find a Mayan ball game, the Oval Palace, and entrance arch and two twin pyramids.
Finally, it must be noted that Ek Balam is very important in archaeological terms for the presence of friezes which show the artistic mastery of this civilisation. There are few places where such well-preserved remains of this type are found.