Ancient history

Mayan Ruins - History of the Mayan Ruins

Palenque loved by many who claim to be the most beautiful Mayan ruin, Palenque sits proudly in the Palenque National Park in the State of Chiapas.

Palenque is characterized by many decorative effects not found anywhere else. Some of these motifs seem almost Chinese and give rise to imaginative speculation about Maya contact with East Asia. This is very unlikely, but there is something about Palenque that gives rise to flights of fancy, mystery and awe.

Cortez passed about 30 miles from the city, and I never knew he was there. The first European to visit this place was a Spanish monk in 1773. He wrote a book in which he claims to have discovered an Atlantis outpost. The next European to describe the place, a Spanish royal official in 1784, wrote a description that remained lost in the Royal Archives for a century. The next to come, Captain Antonia Del Rio in 1786, wrote a report that was also lost, until unexpectedly a copy was published in 1822.

Meanwhile, a Mexican expedition was there in 1807. They wrote a report, forwarded to the government that was lost for 30 years. Then in 1831, the Earl of Waldeck, an eccentric heir to a family that had seen far better days, arrived and set up his headquarters on top of a pyramid that is still called the Earl's Temple today. He spent two years designing and writing about the place. His work was. . . Fantastic. The Count lived until he was 109 years old, which perhaps has to do with the mysteries of Palenque or not.

The Temple of Inscriptions is perhaps the most interesting pyramid in Palenque, in addition to being the tallest. It housed the crypt of Pa Kal, a powerful Mayan priest, discovered in 1952. The crypt has been intact for a millennium.
The Temple of the Sun dates from 642. It has one of the best preserved roofs of any Mayan site. The roofs were richly decorated with false facades that give an idea of ​​grandeur to Mayan buildings.

The Jaguar Temple is perhaps the most intriguing example of similarities to Asian art. The temple displays a "Puff Cross" motif that is almost identical to the one found at Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and some of the bas-reliefs have motifs very similar to those used in Hindu art. Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza means "mouth of the well of Itza". Chichen is the best known, best restored and most impressive of the Mayan ruins. Chichen was built around 550 AD.

Chichen had two main wells, or cenotes:one sacred and the other profane. The profane was used to satisfy everyday needs. The sacred well, 195 feet wide and 120 feet deep, was used in religious rituals, and offerings were continually made to it. Divers have retrieved skeletons and many ritual objects from their depths.
El Castillo is the "Temple of Time", which clarifies the Mayan astronomical system. It was built in the 800s, just before the Toltec invasion.

At an impressive 78 feet tall, El Castillo was indeed a massive solar calendar. If you do the math, you'll see that the 91 steps on each side, times the 4 sides (each representing a season), plus 1 step to reach the top of the platform, adds up to 365, one step for each day of the solar year. During the equinoxes, the pyramid's shadow appears to show a serpent climbing the steps in March, and descending the steps in September. Decline
When the Mayan conquest took place from 1523 onwards, there were different states:those of the Yucatan Peninsula and those of present-day Guatemala, already in decline. In the region of present-day Guatemala, the Mayan peoples were soon defeated by Pedro Alvarado, a courteous envoy. The Mayans of Yucatan resisted until 1546, however, they were subjected to forced labor, lost their cultural identity and the primitive population was practically destroyed.

In the lowlands of the rainforests south of the Yucatan Peninsula, the ancient Mayan people built an enormous ceremonial center known as Tikal. One of the largest and most important Mayan cities, Tikal began to be inhabited in approximately 600 BC, later dominating the classical period (AD 300-900) of Mayan civilization. Tikal was a major religious, political and commercial center, which supported a population of nearly 50,000 people at its height during the late classical period (600-900 AD).

The Great Square, seen here, was the ceremonial center of Tikal and the scene of religious rituals that included human sacrifices and bloodletting, performed by Mayan kings. Tikal and other Mayan cities suffered a mysterious collapse in approximately 900 AD, possibly caused by overpopulation, disease, war, or destruction of rainforest resources. After the abandonment of Tikal, the Mayans continued to live in the nearby lowlands and mountainous regions to the south.

Today, millions of people still speak Mayan languages ​​in parts of Mexico and Central America. The ruins of Tikal are part of the Tikal National Park, located in a region of northern Guatemala, Petén. The park is part of the Mayan Biosphere Reserve, which encompasses 575 square kilometers of surrounding rainforest.

Mayan Civilization

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