The closest major ruins to Campeche are about 53km to the southeast – easily reached by colectivos. Edzná once covered more than 17 sq km and was inhabited from approximately 600 BC to the 15th century AD. Most of the visible carvings date from AD 550 to 810.
What led to Edzná’s decline and gradual abandonment remains a mystery. Beyond the entrance is a palapa protecting carvings and stelae from the elements. A path from here leads about 400m through vegetation to the zone’s big draw, the Plaza Principal, which is 160m long, 100m wide and surrounded by temples. On your right as you enter from the north is the Nohochná (Big House), a massive, elongated structure that was topped by four long halls probably used for administrative tasks, such as the collecting of tributes and the dispensing of justice. The built-in benches facing the main plaza were designed for spectators to view theatrical and ritual events.
Across the plaza is the Gran Acrópolis, a raised platform holding several structures, including Edzná’s major temple, the 31m-high Edificio de los Cinco Pisos (Five-Story Building). It rises five levels from its vast base to the roofcomb and contains many vaulted rooms. A great central staircase of 65 steps goes right to the top – unfortunately off bounds to visitors.
Next stage: Palenque.