Great civilisations are built upon multiple layers of accumulated knowledge. By examining the remains of Maya cities, we can learn valuable principles of architectural design and how their dynamic society-in a hostile environment and in a relatively short time-was able to blossom and create such harmonious architectural masterpieces.
The vivid images that accompany the text offer examples of art and architecture from many Maya cities spanning some 3,000 years, from the Preclassic through the Postclassic period and into modern times. Treister also examines Maya domestic styles and the richness of their textile motifs.
By observing these ancient cities Treister seeks to unlock the secret of the Maya's mysterious collapse. The energy, enterprise, and pride that enabled these people to create such majesty may hold the seeds of their destruction. In their buildings, Treister finds not only the mortar that held their civilisation together but the competitiveness that was the cause of its ruin as well.
Kenneth Treister, FAIA, is an architect, sculptor, photographer, artist and lecturer. He has received numerous awards for his architectural and sculptural designs and is coauthor of Havana Forever: A Pictorial and Cultural History of an Unforgettable City.