Coba is one of the largest cities of the Mayas, Coba rise in the Late Classic period of Maya History, in 600 AD, and eventually fell before might of CHICHEN ITZA sometime around 940 AD. At its height, the lords of Coba ruled over a huge territory, exacting tribute from small city states hundreds of kilometers away.
Several small nearby lakes made Coba a rarity among Maya sites: city water abundant water. Given that other locations rose and fell with their water supplies, these lakes no doubt contributed to the prominence and longevity (it is among the longest-inhabited of all Maya cities) the city achieved.
Because Coba is still in the fairly early stages of discovery and reconstruction, it offers visitors a fascinating look at the lengthy and complex process of restoring Maya cities. The largest structures at Coba are the huge Late Classic temple called Nohoch Mul and a giant pyramid called the Castillo.
Both rise more than 75 feet above the surrounding forest. Many other structures are still being excavated and even discovered, emerging from the cloak of a thousand years of overgrowth.
Coba also benefits from the vastly increased scholarly knowledge of Maya architecture –and Maya life in general – as experts painstakingly piece together this mammoth site.
The gratuitous destruction and historical errors that have flawed other locations have not been visited upon Coba, leaving us to speculate that once this restoration is complete, the city may rival the greatest of all Maya centers.
Among the great achievements of the people of Coba were towering pyramids, advanced agricultural practices (essential for feeding the 30,000 people estimated to have lived within the city itself), and the building of a system of roads that linked virtually the entire dominion together.
These roads, or Sacbe, were tremendous aids to commerce – and to the waging of war. Today’s visitors have privilege of seeing the story as it first begins to unfold, an epic tale still in its early chapters.