Iximche is a Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican archaeological site in the western highlands of Guatemala. Iximche was the capital of the Late Postclassic Kaqchikel Maya kingdom from 1470 until its abandonment in 1524. The architecture of the site included a number of pyramid-temples, palaces and two Mesoamerican ballcourts. Excavators uncovered the poorly preserved remains of painted murals on some of the buildings and ample evidence of human sacrifice. The ruins of Iximche were declared a Guatemalan National Monument in the 1960s. The site has a small museum displaying a number of pieces found there, including sculptures and ceramics. It is open daily.
For many years the Kaqchikel served as loyal allies of the K'iche' Maya. The growing power of the Kaqchikel within the alliance eventually caused such friction that the Kaqchikel were forced to flee the K'iche' capital and found the city of Iximche. The Kaqchikel established their new capital upon an easily defensible ridge almost surrounded by deep ravines. Iximche developed quickly as a city and within 50 years of its foundation it had reached its maximum extent. The rulers of Iximche were four principal lords drawn from the four main clans of the Kaqchikel, although it was the lords of the Sotz'il and Xahil clans who held the real power.
After the initial establishment of Iximche, the K'iche' left the Kaqchikel in peace for a number of years. The peace did not last and the Kaqchikel soundly defeated their former overlords around 1491. This was followed by infighting among the Kaqchikel clans with the rebel clans finally being overcome in 1493.Wars against the K'iche' continued throughout the early 15th century. When the Spanish conquistadors arrived in Mexico, the Aztec emperor sent messengers to warn the Kaqchikel. After the surrender of the Aztecs to Hernán Cortés, Iximche sent its own messengers to offer a Kaqchikel alliance with the Spanish. Smallpox decimated