30 May 2008


Ok, this is the Mayan Ruins of Tulum, Mexico. The Mayans were an ancient civilization that populated central America, notably around the Yucatan area. They are known for their massive architecture, written language, and sophisticated math and astonomical systems. Tulum is known as a Post Classical site, being built between 1200 and 1450. Its may have also been called Zama, meaning city of dawn, while Tulum is Mayan for wall or fence. The city was clearly designed to be a temple complex, living area, and fortification. While it was a trading post for ancient groups, it also showed great class distinctions as the upper members of society lived within its walls, while the lower members did not. The city was important as a religous center pertaining to Venus, known as the morning and evening star. The first mentioning of the city was by Juan Diez, after a 1518 expedition, but the first detailed description was by John Lloyd Stevens and Frederick Catherwood in their 1843 book Incidents of Travel in Yucatan. Historians believe, based on archeological evidence and early Spanish descriptions, that the now monchrome buildings were once trimmed with brightly colored blues and reds, some of which is still visible on the inner walls of the ruins. The Mayans still exist, soem of them in the far southern part of Mexico still live in a tribe-like environment and only speak Mayan. Our tourguide was also a Mayan descendent and spoke English, Spanish, and Mayan, all very well.
The entrance to the ruins site, through the city wall.

This was a house for a highly placed person
the local wildlife says hello
Some views of the main temple

The Gulf of Mexico, seen from the ruins

This building is known as the Temple of the hands, because in some places, hand prints made with red dye are still visible.
This is another, smaller temple
This small temple is significant to astronomy. It actually has a door on the opposite side, but it is currently blocked. When it is not blocked, the sunrise shines through the door on the Equinox.
This picture shows what the Mayans believed the universe to look like, spiritually.

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