Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Sunday, May 20, 2018 07:57:10 PM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Travel lovers, head to Mexico’s pyramid cities for a dose of history and archaeology

photo by

By
09th-Feb-2018       
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Weekend Plus Desk
It was an archaeological adventure: a 12-day family trip to Mayan and Aztec pyramid cities, from Mexico City to the Yucatan jungle. Our timeline spanned from the ancient city of Teotihuacan, founded before the birth of Christ, to sites like Chichen Itza, Tulum and Templo Mayor, built in the centuries before the Spanish conquest of the early 1500s. Dozens of these sites dot Mexico. But we didn't want to go completely Indiana Jones. We looked for variety and ease of access. To get the most out of our visits, we hired English-speaking guides at every stop.
Templo Mayor and Teotihuacan
We started in Mexico City. Visiting Templo Mayor, just off the Zocalo or main square, we had the site almost entirely to ourselves on a weekday morning. It's the newest of the pyramids we saw, but in worst shape, having been destroyed and built over by the Spanish 500 years ago. Visually it's not even a pyramid, but a below street-level ruin of seven multi-layered pyramid foundations. Electricians working in a basement discovered it in 1978 when a floor collapsed, revealing a round stone depicting Aztec goddess Coyolxauhqui.
That piece and thousands more are displayed in a museum overlooking the ongoing excavation. The excavation site displays stone-carved snakes and a few other sculptures, their faded colours giving just an inkling of Aztec Technicolor grandeur. More impressive visually was Teotihuacan, an hour outside Mexico City. Teotihuacan, which predated the Aztecs, was established in the second century B.C. in the Mesoamerica era and lasted almost 1,000 years. Lurching skyward and seen for miles around, two giant pyramids anchor the once-thriving city where 100,000 to 200,000 people lived in more than 2,000 buildings.
The Pyramid of the Sun is 213 feet tall (65 meters) and is connected by the Avenue of the Dead to the smaller Pyramid of the Moon. The place is an archaeological bonanza, with digs and research ongoing. Unlike many other pyramids, you can climb to the top of both Teotihuacan behemoths. But it's not easy. The shorter ascent up the moon pyramid is steeper and more treacherous than the climb up the sun pyramid, which teems with tourists, but is easier to navigate. The payoff for both climbs: incredible vistas. Near one entrance inside a cavern is La Gruta restaurant.
Tulum
From Mexico City we flew to the Yucatan. Avoiding the tourist mecca of Cancun, we stayed in an Airbnb in Playacar, a gated community south of Playa Del Carmen, and rented a car. The roads we took were in great shape, including a new four-lane highway from Cancun to Merida (be warned, there are few offramps) on the route to Chichen Itza, and a new two-lane road from Chichen Itza to Tulum.
Area maps are full of pyramid sites but we kept it simple, stopping first to see the beautiful, breathtaking seaside ruins of Tulum in Quintana Roo. Situated on an expansive bluff overlooking the ocean, the old city was a fishing, trade and religious center. Several thousand Mayans lived here from the year 975 until the Spanish arrival.
Today giant iguanas sun themselves on the stone floors and the collapsed walls of decaying buildings that once housed priests, the wealthy and scientists. The main pyramid, El Castillo (the castle), occupies the best cliff in Tulum but is off limits to pedestrians. Tourist meander elsewhere. A crowded beach sits below the ruins.
Chichen Itza
From Tulum, we drove three hours across the Yucatan jungles to Chichen Itza, a Mayan city that thrived for centuries before the Spanish conquest, when it was abandoned. It virtually disappeared into the jungle, known to just a few locals, until the 19th century. Now it's the most developed of all the pyramid attractions, with 2 million visitors annually. There's ample parking so ignore the hand-waving vendors en route to the park. You'll know when you've arrived.
The pyramid shoots skyward from the jungle floor and is in wonderful condition. Adjacent to the main pyramid is a ball court where a sport was played, something like soccer meets basketball, complete with post-game sacrifice. Surrounding temples include Temple of the Warriors, El Caracol observatory and smaller buildings. Many are off limits to prevent vandalism and graffiti.
Several spots have amazing acoustics. Clap at the foot of Chichen Itza’s main pyramid, also called El Castillo, and the sound reverberates back. At the ball court, el Juego de Pelota, whispers and claps will echo all over. Hearing those noises bouncing off the wall was said to be part of the sport’s appeal. The stone carvings and statues are enthralling, despite their violent depictions of severed heads and spurting blood. n

Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Sports »

Toronto FC forward Jordan Hamilton (22) and Orlando City defender Mohamed El-Munir (13) chase the bouncing ball during the first half of an MLS soccer match in Toronto on Friday.


Sports »

Jordan Spieth watches his tee shot on the first hole during the second round of the AT&T Byron Nelson golf tournament at Trinity Forest Golf Club in Dallas on Friday.


Entertainment »

Raazi`s first week collections become the 5th highest of 2018


Raazi has been sailing smoothly on its journey towards the prestigious Rs 100 crore club and it will be no shocker if the film grosses over it. The cast and crew of the film recently held an event to celebrate the success of the film with the media as well ...

Entertainment »

Kareena says she'll never be on social media


Shashanka Gosh's Veere Di Wedding is all set to bring the gorgeous Kareena Kapoor Khan back to the big screen after a gap of two years. The actress took a break after giving birth to Bollywood's most popular toddler Taimur Ali Khan. Kareena will be seen alongside Sonam Kapoor, Swara ...

City »

BNP Standing Committee Member Dr Khondkar Mosharraf Hossain speaking at a discussion on 'Acceptable Election and Role of the Present Election Commission' organised by 'Nagorik Adhikar Andolon Forum' at the Jatiya Press Club on Saturday.


Editorial »

Myanmar will take back their people: We are unconcerned about the terrorists


AS the monsoon threatens the Rohingya refugees with the outbreak of vector-borne epidemics and diarrhoeal diseases, the repatriation process seems to be getting more and more complex. However, Bangladeshi officials at a meeting in Dhaka on Thursday urged Myanmar to hand over a 'specific list' of members of Arakan Rohingya ...

International »

White House pushes ahead with Mideast peace plan


AP, Washington  :The Trump administration is aiming to roll out its much-hyped but long-delayed Middle East peace plan next month amid signs it may further alienate the Palestinians by slashing millions of dollars in funding for humanitarian and development projects in the West Bank and Gaza.Five U.S. officials and a ...

Editorial »

Don`t ignore the UNHRC`s report : Be respectful to human rights and be with the people


THE UN Human Rights Council (HRC) has adopted a draft report on the human rights review of Bangladesh, with recommendations on taking steps to deter forced disappearances, extra judicial killings, and to ensure freedom of expression in media, politics and religion. During the 30th Session of the Universal Periodic Review ...

Football »

Richet Gomez of Bolivia's The Strongest (left) fights for the ball with Guzman Pereira of Uruguay's Penarol during a Copa Libertadores soccer game in Montevideo, Uruguay on Thursday.


.

City »

Muslim devotees offering munajat seeking divine blessings at the first Jum'a in Ramzan. The snap was taken from the city's Baitul Mukarram National Mosque.


.

Entertainment »

Sonia round the month of Ramzan


Sheikh Arif Bulbon :On the occasion of holy Ramzan, different TV channels are being aired various programmes to focus on the month. From day one of Ramzan popular TV actress, model and host Sonia Hossain has been hosting a daily show titled Lux Style File on Banglavision at 6:45pm. A ...

International »

Kachin civilians flee Myanmar`s `forgotten war`


AFP, Danai :Seng Moon grabbed her day-old baby and fled into the thick jungle, joining thousands of villagers escaping fighting between ethnic Kachin rebels and Myanmar's army, now reinforced by a unit notorious for its brutal "clearance" operations.The insurgency in Myanmar's remote northeast has festered for six decades, but unlike ...

Back Page »

Welcome Holy Ramzan


Abdul Muqit Chowdhury :The Holy month of Ramzan, the ninth month of lunar Arabic calendar, has arrived in our midst. The sighting of the crescent moon has brought with it the fragrance of the golden period of Rahmat (blessings), Maghfirat (forgiveness) and Nazat (salvation). A solemn occasion of complete surrender ...

Editorial »

Bangladesh supports Palestinian's legislative demand


NEWS media reported that Bangladesh is going to attend an extraordinary summit of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Istanbul on Friday, which will discuss a response to the recent opening of the new US embassy in Jerusalem. The OIC has termed the US move a "clear violation" ...

Cricket »

Disgraced Warner to play Sydney club cricket


Disgraced former Australian vice-captain David Warner will start his road to redemption by playing club cricket with Sydney's Randwick Petersham, officials said. The opener is serving a year-long ban from state and international cricket for his part in a plan to use sandpaper to tamper with the ball during the ...

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news