Aké in the Yucatec Maya language means PLACE OF REEDS, a climbing plant that was abundant in the area.
The site was occupied for a long time, from the beginning of the late Preclassic period until sometime around 1450 A.D. The settlement’s peak occurred during the late Classic Period (800 to 100 A.D.) and it is believed that it was one of the most important cities in northern Yucatán during this time.
The most important characteristic of this archaeological zone is its road system (sacbeoob
), which allowed communication with other sites in the region. You can see a road (sacbé) that connected this city with the city of Izamal, 40 kilometers away, where you can also see another section of this Mayan road. This sacbé was part of the road network built by the Mayans to link the main cities in the Yucatán Peninsula
. It allowed them to cover great distances, from the sites in the inner peninsula to the main ports and salt producing centers.
This settlement was very large, the plaza, for example, was 20 km2, and it also has a large number of monumental constructions and a residential zone. The architecture is comprised of big blocks of roughly-carved stone, a defining feature of the Izamaleńo style. It is also possible to see structures with rounded corners, low-angled steps made with big, roughly-carved sillar stones and overhanging vaults. There are also examples of Puuc style architecture in Building 2
The Building of the Columns
structure has a summit with 35 columns, constructed with big drums of stone of 1.20 meters on each side, which rest on a plaza which is accessed through a monumental stairway.
Aké is bounded by two concentric walls. The first is rectangular shaped and is located around the core of the site, it covers an approximate area of 4 square kilometers. The second surrounds what would have been the city.
Aké played an important role in the conquest of Yucatan carried out by Spanish conquistador Francisco de Montejo
. Montejo arrived in Yucatan in 1527 with three ships and 400 men. He managed to conquer many Maya towns, but not without encountering a fiery resistance. At Aké, one of the decisive battles took place, where more than 1000 Maya were killed. Despite this victory, the conquest of Yucatan would be completed only after 20 years, in 1546.