Abandoned Mayan Statues in… St. Petersburg

In one of the regular inner yards of multi-stored buildings in St. Petersburg there is a whole collection of Middle-American Mayan statues standing under open air and not protected by anybody, left all by themselves.

The story of them appearing there starts in 19th century when Academy of St. Petersburg sent a group of explorers to Middle America. They visited through all of Yucatan, collected different things for St. Petersburg’s museums. By the way they noticed and bought a set of Mayan idols from Chichen Itza ruins. Upon the return of expedition smaller objects were placed into museums but nobody has found a good place for those Mayan statues and they were left all by themselves in the back yard, dug into ground.

A few years passed and Soviet Revolution happened, all the museums were messed up, all the buildings were nationalized by Soviets and were used for a totally different purpose then before. In many churches warehouses were founded as the result of total atheism of new Russian authorities, and many museum were turned into something else as a result of ignorance.

So hundred years passed and those 1500 year old Mayan deities stand, abandoned and not worshiped by anyone except accidental Russian teens searching for a place to have a beer outside in some public backyard.

Abandoned Mayan Statues in... St. Petersburg

Abandoned Mayan Statues in... St. Petersburg

Abandoned Mayan Statues in... St. Petersburg

Abandoned Mayan Statues in... St. Petersburg

Abandoned Mayan Statues in... St. Petersburg

Abandoned Mayan Statues in... St. Petersburg

Abandoned Mayan Statues in... St. Petersburg

Abandoned Mayan Statues in... St. Petersburg

Abandoned Mayan Statues in... St. Petersburg

via Igor Beliy

20 thoughts on “Abandoned Mayan Statues in… St. Petersburg”

  1. This really is amazing. I would not be at all surprised to see the Government of Mexico, (Quentana Roo, Yucatan, Mexico), ask for these back.

    Part of the Patrimony kind of issue.

    Thanks for the interesting post.

    Best Wishes, Traveller

  2. Surviving the revolution is now part of these statues’ history. They should be taken to a museum. As far as Mexican government, i don’t think they’ll miss a few little statues that were taken so many years ago by the explorers.

  3. @ Kylex

    No-you may not have the address. You’ll only steal those priceless artifacts.

    @ Shizo

    Mexican government couldn’t care because they have pyramids that still haven’t been found and countless of other artifacts like the one statue in Mexico City. 80ft long statue of a Aztec King.

  4. I can’t believe some Russian “entreprenuer” hasn’t grabbed these and sold them on the foreign market to some collector, considering how much gets stolen from ancient graves now in central America and sold on the black market.

    Where are your precious gods NOW, foolish humans!

  5. Interesting indeed. However, as far as I know, these statues don’t look like Mayan artifacts. Mayan sculpture is a bit more realistic and three-dimensional, and those statues don’t seem to match with known Mayan iconography.

    Do you (or somebody else) know where can I find more information about this, like the name of the explorers or the exact date of the expedition?

    • maybe Olmec, but there were a lot of mayans and they could be from anywhere. one of the greatest losses caused by their move was the lost information they could have given about where they were found.

    • These are either Zapotec or Toltec or both. They’re not Mayan at all. I bet the Mexican Government would like them back. Perhaps the locals could find a better use for them rather than as urinals for drunk teens …

  6. This story is wrong on a number of levels:

    They’re not Mayan, they’re from the San Agustin culture of Colombia.

    They’re not abandoned, they’re in the garden of the Kunstkamera Museum.

    They probably could be better cared for though.

  7. Eeeexcuse me but this is actually a hoax. These pictures were taken not in “one of the regular inner yards of multi-stored buildings in St. Petersburg” but in the inner yard of Kunskammer, the famous Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography in St.Petersburg. They really store some stone statues from their American collection in the museum’s inner yard.
    I wouldn’t mind having something like that in MY yard in St.Petersburg, though… 🙂

  8. To see them, you can either go out the back door of the Kunstkammera (downstairs and past the coat-check), or walk around to the other side of the building (there is a gate).

  9. This items are most definitely from none of the ethnic groups of Mexico.

    They very much seem to be from South America and there is similarity with the Inca iconography -though, not necesarily Inca.

  10. These are from the “San Agustin” Lost culture of the Colombian Southamerican Andes. I know the goverment of Colombia is trying to recover a lot of artifacts that were taken to the old war in the early century XX.

  11. I visited Kunstakamera about five years ago to see these San Agustin statues. Inside the museum there are more statues and part of them are listed in Latin American Red List ICOM site as stolen artifacts. See link and image:

    Also UNESCO has been protecting statues: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/744 statues have outstanding Universal Value. Even though the sites suffered long ago from looting, the early creation of the park in 1931 provided a stable adequate protection for the monuments and surrounding ceremonial Sentre.strong measures are taken to prevent the looting and trafficking of cultural property

    So, could someone who lives in St Petersburg be so kind that he would go to museum and see if stolen statues are still there. I have made complaint about this to Latin American Red List ICOM

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