Land of the Pyramids
The Temple of the Warriors
at Chichen Itza and the impressive Group of a Thousand Columns.
Each year millions of tourists visit Chichen Itza, the best know
and most restored Maya ruins in the Yucatan. >>>
<<< The Pyramid of Kukulcan, framed
by a carved serpent's head, is the tallest structure in the huge
complex. A stairway tunnel inside the pyramid leads to an ancient
Another view of Kukulcan, or El Castillo, which rises 24 meters
above the massive central courtyard of Chichen Itza. >>>
<<< The Temple of the Inscriptions in Palenque contains
a royal crypt that was hidden for more than a thousand years before
being discovered by a Mexican archaeologist in 1952.
The temple ruins of Palenque
in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas are an excellent example
of Maya architecture during the Classic period. >>>
<<< The dense jungle of the Chiapas
rain forest surrounds the ruins of this "lost city" of
the Maya. Already abandoned, the city of Palenque was "discovered"
by Spanish explorers in 1785, 250 years after Cortez first landed
I arrived in Palenque village in the late afternoon.
After carrying my bags up the main street from the bus station,
I found a clean, large room at the Hotel Lacroix on a quiet shaded
street off the plaza. The oldest hotel in town dating back to 1956,
Lacroix is where many archeologists stayed when they explored the
nearby ruins of Palenque.
At a restaurant during dinner I bought a woven bracelet from an
elderly Maya woman who came to my table. She also had some small,
black-clad Zapatista soldier dolls which I would see many more of
in San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas.
I awoke early and took a collectivo, a small white VW van, to the
ruins outside of town. The Mayan ruins wer Áe beautiful in
the early morning light. Lush tropical forests surrounded the ancient
structures, gurgling streams and aqueducts meandered through the
grounds as birds and butterflies filled the air.
I spoke to a middle-aged woman with an American accent sitting alone
atop the main pyramid writing in her journal. It was her second
day visiting the ruins. She'd been an accountant for the last 16
years and now she was trying to become a writer. Her recent travels
had taken her to Uluru, Ayers Rock, in the Australian Outback. She
dropped names of a number of other mystical or spiritual destinations
she had visited around the world. She struck me as another new age
searcher attempting to find herself among the crumbling ruins of
another lost civilization.
T R A V
E L M E N U
I N M E N U
Photography by Paul Picus. Copy by
Paul Picus. Copyright © 1996-2008 Paul Picus
Copyright © 1996-2008 Gar Benedick,
All Rights Reserved.