A Story of 18 Rabbit in Copan

18 RABBIT died at the hands of his nephew, Sky Monster.

He was the best-known and most powerful Mayan ruler.

The 13th god/king of the Copan dynasty, 18 Rabbit ruled well for 43 years until his violent death — a passing that presaged the collapse of not only Copan (located in modern Honduras), but also virtually all the Mayan civilizations of the Classic Period.

Eschewing his father’s wars of conquest that had left Copan in a precarious state, 18 Rabbit oversaw a renaissance of Mayan art and architecture.

His many projects included Copan’s Great Plaza, the unequaled Hieroglyphic Staircase (containing 1,200 inscriptions, the longest known Mayan text), Copan’s magnificent Temple 22, and seven elaborately detailed estelas (tall, stone monuments) depicting himself as various Mayan gods.

But even 18 Rabbit’s enlightened vision could not prevent Copan’s demise, the inexorable result of the city-state’s own success. Once Copan’s population reached a pinnacle of perhaps 27,000 inhabitants, the countryside no longer could provide enough food. Massive deforestation — for agriculture and for fuel (voracious limestone kilns provided plaster for Copan’s extensive monuments) — caused soil depletion, erosion and may have even contributed to a devastating drought.

The incipient disaster led to social upheaval and political unrest as well, which may explain why Sky Monster decided to murder his uncle, 18 Rabbit.
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Airport for Visitors to the Copan Ruins

A large group of representatives of the prime movers and shakers of Honduras in both the business and political areas of the West, led by the Bishop of the Diocese of Copán, Luis Alfonso Santos, have called upon Congress to help them start building a dream runway in the municipality of Concepción, Copán.

The committee presented their plan to the president of the legislature, Juan Orlando Hernandez Alvarado, and other congressmen.

The plan is for the airfield to be used to develop the entire western region, and to transport tourists to the Copan Ruins archaeological park.

Hernández Alvarado suggested they meet next week with the authorities for Tourism and local Copanecos. After this meeting, he said, “I promise to convene a group of cooperating countries and international lending agencies for advice in terms of construction of the airfield for Copán and the development of western Honduras.”


The National Geographic documentary, “Collapse: Based on the Book by Jared Diamond,” will start airing on the National Geographic Channel September 18th, 2010, at 8 PM. The next scheduled date is September 27 at 10 a.m. and you may check future airings below at the NATGEO website.

The Copan Association was a contributor along with the Honduran Institute of Tourism and Honduran Institute of Anthropology (IHAH) and parts were filmed around the Copan area with local actors. We hope you can all tune in!

El documental de National Geographic “Colapso: Basado en el Libro por Jared Diamond” comenzo en el canal NATGEO el 18 septiembre, 2010, a las 8 p.m. La próxima fecha planificada es el 27 de septiembre a las 10 a.m. y puede verificar futuros en el sitio web de NATGEO.

La Asociación de Copan fue un contribuyente junto con el Instituto Hondureño de Turismo y Instituto Hondureño de Antropología (IHAH) y varios segmentos fueron filmadas en el area de Copan con actores locales.

Copan Going to the Birds

I am not a birder, but I love watching the little creatures, especially in their native habitat. Imagine then, how happy I was to discover Macaw Mountain Bird Park and Nature Reserve just outside of Copan, Honduras.

The facility boasts native Honduran macaws, breeds from South America like the blue and gold, and green winged macaws, a variety of parrots, and several varieties of the colorful toucan.

Some of these birds were former pets donated to the park. Others were living in the wild, but in danger of being killed by upset farmers for eating their crops. Many Wagner, a North American and conservationist, began the project in the 1980s.

The park is an amazing experience. Trails weave through a tropical landscape of old growth forest with lush local flora and fauna. The area is actually a canyon formed by Sesesmil Creek that provides water to the town.

Most of the birds are kept in large eco-friendly aviaries where the birds can fly freely and climb branches. The first aviary I encountered had 10 or more scarlet macaws, the national bird of Honduras. It was exhilarating to be so close to these colorful, magnificent creatures.

They were only an appetizer for my bird feasting eyes. After passing by other species, like the green wing and blue macaws native to South America, and local birds of prey such as hawks and owls, I came upon the main course, an open area where dozens of macaws, parrots and toucans perched for tourists’ delight.

I had always wanted to see a toucan in the wild and there it was! Not only one, but two colorful, large beaked toucans. My dream had come true. I was up close and personal with a wild toucan.

All of the birds in this observation area are friendly. The macaws perch on visitors’ arms with the assistance of a handler. The other parrots, fluffed and preened, squawked and whistled.

This was a photographer and bird lover’s paradise. I snapped away, grateful that my camera was a digital one with lots of space, and not film.

Macaw Mountain Bird Park and Nature Reserve is a labor of love. To help preserve these magnificent birds is truly a gift to the next generation, not to mention the current one.

To lean more about Macaw Mountain Bird Park and Nature Reserve, visit their website at: www.macawmountain.com


Honduras Conference Scheduled

A conference on Honduras 2010 will take place in Copan during October 14-16, 2010 at the Municipal Conference Center beside the town’s central plaza.

The event will be sponsored by Special Missions Foundation of Georgetown, Texas. The focus of the conference is education, health care (including HIV/AIDS and clean water), and community building (including micro-credit and caring for orphaned children). The aim is to present and exchange information on current and proposed grassroots projects to empower the people of Honduras. The goal is to improve and expand these efforts, as well as inspire people to go out and get involved.

Casa de Todo is homebase for the Conference on Honduras in Copan. It is located two blocks from the Municipal Conference Center, where the conference is held. Casa de Todo is owned and managed by Sandra Guerra, who is the director of the conference in town.

Reservations should be made at least two months in advance of the conference.