Mystery of the Maya

Deep within the jungles of Mexico and Guatemala and extending into the limestone shelf of the Yucatán peninsula lie the fabled temples and palaces of the Maya. While Europe still slumbered in the midst of the Dark Ages, these innovative people had charted the heavens, evolved the only true writing system native to the Americas and were masters of mathematics and calendrics. Without advantage of metal tools, beasts of burden or even the wheel they were able to construct vast cities with an astonishing degree of architectural perfection and variety. Their legacy in stone, which has survived in a spectacular fashion at places such as Palenque, Tikal, Tulum, Chichén Itzá, Copán and Uxmal, lives on as do the seven million descendants of the classic Maya civilization.

In support of the IMAX film, Mystery of the Maya, which was co-produced by the Canadian Museum of Civilization, we present here information on Maya civilization and several exhibits that were on display at the Museum in 1995.


Maya civilization Exhibits on the Plaza
The IMAX film People of the Jaguar

See also Mysteries of Egypt


  • Research and writing: Nancy Ruddell, Sheila Singhal, Frank Corcoran, Ian Dyck, Stephen Alsford
  • Photography on location in Central America: Lara Becerra Roma
  • Other photography: Harry Foster, Steven Darby, George MacDonald, Merle Toole, Stephen Alsford
  • Storyboard illustrations: Francis Back
  • Production: Stephen Alsford
  • Maya Project coordinator: Pierre Schnubb


Other Maya-related sites of interest

Mystery of the Maya Products

Teacher's guide