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The Maya are best known for the stepped pyramids they built and their calendar, among other things. The Maya civilization developed around 1500 BCE. Over the years the Maya created many kingdoms and small empires in what is now South-Eastern Mexico and some smaller countries in Central America. They built huge palaces and temples, and developed a hieroglyphic writing system similar to that used by the Ancient Egyptians. Their pyramids and their hieroglyphs are both like those of Egypt but the two civilisations are separated by thousands of years and thousands of miles of ocean.