Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Tuesday, October 16, 2018 07:28:27 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

Editorial »

Question paper leakage continues: Incompetence is everywhere


QUESTION paper leaks have become epidemic before all public exams, university admission tests, and job recruitment tests during the current administration allegedly by some students and unscrupulous teachers along with office staffs. Detectives in recent times busted dens of criminals involved in the question leakage but the unholy nexus between ...

Football »

US headed to Women's World Cup with 6-0 win over Jamaica


AP, Frisco :The U.S. women's national team breezed through CONCACAF qualifying to secure a spot in the World Cup next year in France.The Americans still have to face Canada."Just because we qualified for the World Cup doesn't mean we're going to take our foot off the gas," Alex Morgan said. ...

Cricket »

India ready to unleash 'fearless' Shaw, Pant on Australia


"Fearless" young batting stars Prithvi Shaw and Rishabh Pant will be India's special weapons during their upcoming tour of Australia, according to captain Virat Kohli.Hailing the roles of 18-year-old Shaw and 21-year-old Pant in the two-Test victory over the West Indies, Kohli said they had been given free rein to ...

International »

Saudi Arabia warns against any sanctions over missing Khashoggi case


Reuters, Washington :Saudi Arabia on Sunday warned against threats to punish it over last week's disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as European leaders piled on pressure and two more US executives scrapped plans to attend a Saudi investor conference.Khashoggi, a US resident and Washington Post columnist critical of Riyadh's policies, ...

International »

Prince Harry and wife Meghan expecting a baby


AFP, London :Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, are expecting a baby in the spring of 2019, they announced on Monday as they began a Pacific tour."The Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are very pleased to announce that the Duchess of Sussex is ...

Entertainment »

Ranveer-Sara soak up the Swiss Sun with Rohit Shetty


Bollywood stars Ranveer Singh and Sara Ali Khan, who are in Switzerland to shoot for their upcoming action-drama Simmba, look all geared up for the weekend and their recent picture is a proof! Taking to her Instagram, Sara shared snaps from the set in which she can be seen posing ...

City »

BNP Standing Committee Member Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury speaking at a rally organised by Nagorik Adhikar Andolon Forum at the Jatiya Press Club on Monday to meet its various demands including withdrawal of false cases filed against BNP Chief Begum Khaleda Zia and her son Tarique Rahman.


Editorial »

Take seriously the promise made to the editors


The Editors' Council will form a human chain in front of the National Press Club today (Monday) to press for amendments to nine sections of the Digital Security Act. Earlier, the Council postponed the same program following an assurance from three ministers including the information minister Hasanul Haq Inu that ...

Sports »

Marcelo Melo of Brazil (left) and his partner Lukasz Kubot of Poland bite their winning trophy as they pose for photographers after beating Jamie Murray of Britain and Bruno Shares of Brazil in the men's doubles final match of the Shanghai Masters tennis tournament at Qizhong Forest Sports City Tennis Center in Shanghai, China on Sunday.


International »

Trump explains `eligibility` for those who want to come to US


PTI, Washington :US President Donald Trump has said that he wants people with merit, who can help, to enter the country and not sneak inside the border illegally."I'm very tough at the borders. We've been very tough at the borders. People have to come into our country legally, not illegally. ...

International »

US wants ‘regime change’ in Iran: Rouhani


Reuters, Tehran :The United States is seeking "regime change" in Iran, President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday, adding that the current US administration is the most hostile that the Islamic Republic has faced in its four decades.Tensions have increased between Iran and America after US President Donald Trump withdrew from ...

City »

Former adviser to the caretaker government Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman addressing a press conference on the occasion of 4th International Health Conference of People's Health organised by People's Health Movement- Bangladesh at VIP Lounge , Jatiya Press Club yesterday.


Entertainment »

Nadia in new telefilm


Entertainment Report :After returning country popular TV actress and model Nadia Ahmed has acted in a new telefilm titled Debor, which is based on a life-oriented story. Written by Barrister Mostaq Ahmed, the telefilm is directed by Sanjay Barua. The shooting of the telefilm has already been done in the ...

Editorial »

Mysterious disappearance of Saudi journalist Khashoggi


MYSTERY shrouds the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi when Turkish authorities didn't revoke their claim that he was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul amid strong denials by the Saudi government. The Turkish newspaper "Sabah" yesterday reported that Khashoggi may have recorded his own death by his Apple Watch. ...

Sports »

Danielle Kang of the United States reacts on the 18th hole after finishing the third round of the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship at Sky72 Golf Club in Incheon, South Korea on Saturday.


.

 
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