Friday, July 20, 2012

Traveler visits Mayan ruins Tulum

Since December 21st, 2012 is the end of the 5,126 year Mayan cycle, and quite possibly the end of the world as we know it, I decided to see what all the fuss is about.

So, after I got off the Allure, I braved the intense heat and humidity and took a ferry and then a bus to the Mayan Ruins at Tulum.

I never knew Cozumel was so beautiful and the water was so blue...

The sands are so white!

We got off of the ferry and caught our tour bus in Playa Del Carmen...

Sally found a "Mayan Breezer"!

As usual, I completely immersed myself in the culture...

We arrived at the archeological site, Tulum. Tulum was one of the last Mayan cities to still be inhabited during the Spanish conquest. At the time that the Spaniards arrived, the inner walled city of Tulum had a population of 500 people while it's surrounding suburbs had over 10,000 residents. The inner city was a sacred spot where the Mayans came to pray to their gods and perform animal and human sacrifices. Most of the human sacrifices were made to the Mayan rain god during times of drought- the area surrounding Tulum has no natural water source, like rivers or natural wells. All of the Mayans' water came from rainfall which they collected in Cisterns.

There are wild Iguanas all over the area!

Tulum is located on the Yucatan Peninsula. The word Yucatan was given to the area by the conquering Spaniards who misunderstood the native language. When the Spaniards asked the Mayans what they called this place, the Mayans answered in their own language, "We hear you talking but we do not know what you are saying". One of the Mayan words in that phrase sounded like "Yucatan" to the Spaniards and so that is what they named the area.

Tulum was built by the Mayans in the 10th century. The original Mayan name was Zama, which means "city of the dawn". Tulum had access to both land and sea trade routes, especially for the trade of Obsidian, and was an important trading hub of the Mayan civilization.

This is the tomb of a Mayan man who was much taller than the average height at his time as well as, at eighty years of age, was older than the average Mayan life span of 52 years. When important Mayans died many of their servants were quickly executed so that they could continue to serve their master in the afterlife. I bet the servants of this older man were stoked that he lived so long!

The Caribbean Sea and the high onshore cliffs on one side of the walled city acted as a natural barrier which helped to protect Tulum from the invading Spainards. This is one of the reasons that Tulum was able to be one of the last inhabited Mayan cities...

There is also a large barrier reef surrounding the bay which kept the Spaniards from bringing their ships close to attack the city.

But the Mayans could not hope to outlast the Spaniards for any real length of time and finally it was completely abandoned by the end of the 16th century. The jungle grew up and covered the ruins, keeping them hidden from sight until they were rediscovered in 1843.

As I spent the day exploring the ruins, I began to ponder the December 21st, 2012 prophecy.

"What is it?", I asked myself, "What will happen?" A New Age interpretation of this date marks the start of time in which Earth and its inhabitants may undergo a positive physical or spiritual transformation, and that 2012 may mark the beginning of a new era.

Others suggest that the 2012 date marks the end of the world or a similar catastrophe. Scenarios suggested for the end of the world include the arrival of the next solar maximum, or Earth's collision with an object such as a black hole, a passing asteroid, or a planet called "Nibiru". Maybe there will even be an alien invasion!

The Mayans, who created their calendars around cosmic formations and star alignments, most likely meant that their 5,126 year cycle will end in that date and a new cosmic cycle will begin.

Some people have interpreted the galactic alignment this way, claiming that when it occurs, it will somehow create a combined gravitational effect between the Sun and the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy (known as Sagittarius A*), thus creating havoc on Earth.

So, even after my day studying Tulum, I still don't know the answer to what will happen on December 21st, 2012. The more I learn, the less know. I guess we are all in this together and will all just have to wait and see!

- Posted by Shiloh's Traveler from the road

1 comment:

Alexander Mackenzie Bear said...

Hi Traveler!

Beanie Mouse said you were back online having some adventures, so I thought I'd check out your blog. Tulum looks very interesting and those beaches are amazing! It looks very hot though and I think I'd melt in my winter parka and boots and hat!