Juego de Pelota Sur


Some 17 ball courts have been found at El Tajín. The Juego de Pelota Sur dates from about 1150 and is the most famous of the courts, owing to the six relief carvings on its walls that depict various aspects of the ball-game ritual.

The panel on the northeast corner is the easiest to make out: in the center, three ball-players perform a ritual post-game sacrifice with one player ready to plunge a knife into the chest of another, whose arms are held by the third player. Death gods and a presiding figure look on. The other panels depict various scenes of ceremonial drinking of pulque (a milky, low-alcohol brew made from the maguey plant).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Veracruz attractions

1. Plaza Menor

0.03 MILES

Beyond the Plaza del Arroyo in the south of the site, flanked by pyramids on four sides, is the Plaza Menor (Lesser Plaza), part of El Tajín’s main…

2. Juego de Pelota de Las Pinturas

0.06 MILES

The Juego de Pelota de las Pinturas (Ball Court of the Paintings), to one side of the Pirámide de los Nichos, is so called as it has two very impressively…

3. Pirámide de los Nichos

0.06 MILES

El Tajín’s most emblematic structure, the beautifully proportioned Pyramid of the Niches, is just off the Plaza Menor. The six lower levels, each…

4. El Tajín


No one knows for sure who built this mighty pre-Hispanic city of around 20,000 inhabitants (The Totonacs? The Huastecs?), which is why archaeologists…

5. El Tajín Chico

0.18 MILES

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…

6. Museo El Tajín

0.31 MILES

Do drop in to the on-site museum at the entrance to El Tajín (included in your ticket price) to see an excellent model of the site. It also displays a…

7. Parque Israel C Téllez

3.62 MILES

The bustling heart of Papantla, there always seems to be something going on in or around this zócalo terraced into the hillside – head here on Friday…