Observatory sotzil

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Ceremonial Observatory at the Hill of Gold Atitlan.



The summit of Cerro de Oro (Hill of Gold) in Atitlan is a protected area of public use with important altars for the Maya spirituality. It is a sculpture garden used to illustrate and tell stories related to ancient and contemporary Maya culture. The Ceremonial Observatory uses solar and lunar markers and the play of light and shadows to visualize the astronomical cycles behind the Mesoamerican calendars.

At the base of the mountain there is a cultural center, with a planetary, conference and projection room, workshop space, art gallery, restaurant, services, parking, and a souvenir shop for visitors.

Cerro de oro5.jpg

Products and Services:

  1. Astronomical Observatory
  2. Ceremonial center for Maya spirituality
  3. Planetary
  4. Souvenir Shop
  5. Art gallery for textile and stone works
  6. Books, posters, printed material.
  7. Guided visits, astro tourism, cultural and educative tourism
  8. Educational activities for schools, spiritual guides and general public
  9. Restaurant, services, parking
  10. Conference room.

Demand and Justification

Touristic: There is a lot of tourism in Atitlan, but little offer of ecological or cultural tourism, every year around 29,000 persons visit Atitlan lake.

Ecological: Atitlan lake is an important natural reserve, however, tourism focuses on night life, restaurants and shopping. For this reason, projects aiming for nature conservation, and the value of native culture are very important to preserve this important ecosystem.

National: The 1995 peace treaty (between Guatemalan state and the guerrilla) about indigenous rights and identity, acknowledges the existence and value of Mayan scientific knowledge, and establishes the responsibility of the government to promote the study, practice and diffusion of this knowledge.

Cultural: Over the last years there has been an increasing interest to know, recover and vindicate the Mayan cultural legacy, as part of a social healing process, to strengthen the national identity, helping to dissolve racism and discrimination, to inspire the study of sciences, promoting the equitable access to science and technology.

International: Starting with UNESCO international year of Astronomy 2009, International year of light 2015, several organizations around the world promote the study of astronomy as a positive interaction among countries, promoting collaboration, respect for nature, clear skies, etc. Archaeo-Astronomy and cultural Astronomy have been recognized as a positive link between science and society, allowing a bilateral approach between science and ancient cultures around the world.

Financial Request:

The nonprofit association Fundacion Ojo Solar (Solar Eye Foundation) will execute a two year long project to build the sculptures and infrastructure, and begin the educational programs directed to schools, spiritual guides and tourist guides. The project aims to be sustainable at least from the third year of operations.

Necessary Investment Ammount (Euros)
Complete protected area 24,000
Sculpture and stone works 93,000
Cultural Center Infraestructure 60,000
Planetarium 60,000
One year of operation 70,000
Total 307,000 Euro

Current state of the Project (2020)

  1. Fundacion Ojo Solar has the property of the land at the summit, the base and in between of the mountain to grant private access from the road to the protected area.
  2. Local indigenous authorities have been consulted and informed about the project to obtain their collaboration.
  3. The development plans have been discussed with Maya time keepers and spiritual guides.
  4. The solar and lunar markers are designed already.
  5. There are plans for sculptures, courses, printed material, educational activities and derived spin offs of the project.
  6. Fundacion Ojo Solar is the legal framework to establish the goals and compromise with the local communities to support cultural, social and economic development in the region.

For more information visit:

The Hill of Gold project in Atitlan

Solar Eye calendar sculpture and astronomical observatory