El Tajín Chico was the government area of the ancient city and would have been home to the ruling classes. Many of the buildings at El Tajín Chico have geometric stone mosaic patterns known as ‘Greco’ (Greek). The raised level here gives an excellent view of the lower site.

The path north toward Plaza El Tajín Chico passes the Juego de Pelota Norte (Northern Ball Court), which is smaller and older than the southern court and has fainter carvings on its sides.

Edificio I, probably once a palace, has some terrific carvings and beautifully preserved, blue, yellow and red paintwork. Edificio C, on the east side, with three levels and a staircase facing the plaza, was initially painted blue and sports some unusual whorled decorations. Edificio A, on the plaza’s north side, has an arch construction known as a corbeled arch, with two sides jutting closer to each other until they are joined at the top by a single slab, which is typical of Maya architecture. Its presence here is yet another oddity in the jigsaw puzzle of pre-Hispanic cultures.

Northwest of Plaza El Tajín Chico is the unreconstructed Plaza de las Columnas (Plaza of the Columns), one of the site’s most important structures. It originally housed a large open patio and adjoining buildings stretching over the hillside. Some wonderful reassembled carved columns are displayed in the museum.