Journey Idea » Ruins of The Americas http://www.journeyidea.org Travel across the world with Journey Idea Mon, 15 Apr 2013 07:00:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Go Down the Memory Lane to the Ruins of America http://www.journeyidea.org/go-down-the-memory-lane-to-the-ruins-of-america http://www.journeyidea.org/go-down-the-memory-lane-to-the-ruins-of-america#comments Mon, 15 Apr 2013 07:00:46 +0000 Ricky http://www.journeyidea.org/?p=8797 America is a land of the ancient Maya civilization, which existed here years ago. Copan is an interesting ruin here in the Honduras with relics of impressive Columbian art. A major tourist spot, these ruins in western Honduras have attracted the attention of many tourists in the recent past.

Copan is a beautifully fertile river valley ensconced in the surroundings of greenery and hilly regions. It is at a height so it is quite cool here like many of the Central American forest regions. There are innumerable shuttle buses that bring you to this place from any part of Honduras, Hedman Alas, Guatemala, and El Salvador.

Honduras El Salvador

Being a small place, you can even enjoy tours here by foot. The cobblestone streets here are a fascination for many a traveller and streets are safe even after the dark. The ruins are a little away from the main town and tourists come here and enjoy the short tourist walks around to smaller ruins nearby.

These ruins might not be as big as the Tikal ruins of Guatemala but there are lot of sculptures and art forms here, which are an attraction. There is an archaeological park with a magnificent museum of the Mayans. Some artifacts, a reconstructed temple, tunnels, are other sights here. It is better to come here early, as it gets hot by afternoon.

Tikal Mayan ruins Guatemala Aguas Termales

Besides, visit places like the Luna jaguar Aguas Termales. This fresh, natural hot spring is a refreshing spot for those who come here in the sun. Visit the macaw mountain, which is an enchanting bird sanctuary. Enjoy the swimming hole and the birds here. Go to the Centro de Mariposas, the butterfly sanctuary, and experience the world’s longest zip line, the canopy here. Also, enjoy the exciting horse rides here.

The ruins of the America are a very intriguing lot to travellers coming to this part of the world. Experience the adventurous pleasures here and take back with you invaluable, travel tales.

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Xunantunich Ruins in Belize http://www.journeyidea.org/xunantunich-ruins-in-belize http://www.journeyidea.org/xunantunich-ruins-in-belize#comments Sat, 02 Feb 2013 07:47:44 +0000 Ricky http://www.journeyidea.org/?p=8723 The ruins at Xunantunich is a very ancient archaeological site in western Belize and belongs to the Mayan group. Lying around 80 miles to the west of Belize City in the district of Cayo, this is around 8 miles to the west of San Ignacio Town. Xunantunich is situated on top of a ridge above the River Mopan and was an earlier Maya civic ceremonial centre in the Terminal Classic periods. Xunantunich’s name means Stone Woman. It is mix of Yucatec and Mopan. It is actually a modern name and the Stone Woman refers to a ghost of a woman who is believed to have lived here in the year 1892. Dressed in white it is believed she has fire red eyes. It is believed that she ascends the stairs and then disappears into a stone wall.

Xunantunich was first explored by Thomas Gann in the middle half of 1890. Gann then settled in Belize, as he wanted to explore the archaeology here more. He was the first to bring the concept of ceramic chronology here.

Xunantunich Ruins

Xunantunich is reached by driving through the western highway and through the San Ignacio town. You then would cross the San Jose Suiccotz village and take a ferry on the River Mopan to reach Xunantunich. This was a region, which flourished in the Classic period and is said to have survived the collapse of the Mayan civilization. It was a very important population centre till 1000 D. The site has five plazas out of which there are three plazas open for the tourists today. The El Castillo dominates the sites and rises to a height of around 120 feet. The climb is a favourite of all adventure enthusiasts and the main point here is on the top from here there is an awe inspiring sight of the entire region. The River valleys of Mopan and Belize rivers are seen from here and the Guatemala region is also seen from the top. There are two special friezes made of stucco here. and this is another attraction for all. There is a small museum and a visitor centre with authentic food providing places.

Situated in the heart of the district of Cayo this is a lovely ruin here and is a site of attraction for many. Overlooking the beautiful San Ignacio, the Xunantunich tours also combine a visit to nearby Cahal Pech. This is another Mayan centre and is located on top of an acropolis on the River Macal. There are thirty four structures in the middle of Cahal Pech and there are many artifacts in the visitor’s centre here.

Cahal Pech

Xunantunich also has some interesting craft shops to visit and the gifts here are good quality Belize products. There are lovely items to pick up and special souvenirs, which would give you a memorable tour to take home. There is a local market here, which has Mennonites and farmers selling their produce. This is a great place to pick up jams, haberno sauces, and honey.

Xunantunich is one of the most visited Belize ruins in the world. Belize cruise ship tours take tourists on trips here and it is very interesting to see the manner in which this region comes alive with tourists loving every bit of the time they spend here.

Xunantunich opens at 7.30 in the morning and closes at 4 in the evening. The cruise ships come here at around nine in the morning and leave by lunch.

Mayan Ruins in Belize

Xunantunich was earlier reached from the Lower Dover. It is possible to hitch hike a ride here, the walks here are also very common and exciting for some others. There is a lot of walking to be done in treks here so it is important that you have water alongwith you.

Mayan artisans sell crafts and arts here near the ferry and these are said to be some of the best in the entire country. there are many who sell the Mayan art who are said to be the descendants of Don Elijio Panti who was a great expert at Mayan medicinal plants.

With the best of archaeological ruins and the most of visual treats, Xunantunich comes across as a place that has a lot to show and lots more to take home. Tours here are very inspiring and enchanting, and provide you with a lot of exciting experiences and beautiful memories. Travels to this part of the world includes interesting delights and great memories.

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Mysterious tours in the Uaxactun ruins in Guatemala http://www.journeyidea.org/mysterious-tours-in-the-uaxactun-ruins-in-guatemala http://www.journeyidea.org/mysterious-tours-in-the-uaxactun-ruins-in-guatemala#comments Thu, 26 Apr 2012 10:30:49 +0000 Ricky http://www.journeyidea.org/?p=8291 Visit Guatemala which is a great land to be in, while you are on a travel expidition. Come here and enjoy the beauty of the adventurous thrill that one gets in the escapades here. There is something really special and mysterious about this region and so all tourists make it a point to keep special tours to the ruins here which are great tour attractions in this part of the world.

Visit the Uaxactun ruins in Guatemala and go back with great travel delights and tour memories. This is a very important Maya site and is situated in the Peten region in Guatemala tours. This is a place that is made up of many groups of buildings and has been existing since 500 BC. The building is the observatory and has a fascinatingly decorated staircase with stucco masks as decorations.

Uaxactun was a great centre for many ceremonies in the past and is actually compared many times to Tikal. It has been a very important part of Mayan archaeology and has had great ceramic styles in the Classic periods. Around 25 miles from Tikal, these ruins are found in the Maya Biosphere of the Guatemala region. Uaxactun means “Eight Stones” and it has four main structures that are found aligned to the solstices and equinoxes and so archaeologists believe that they were in use during the times of the Mayans.

Uaxactun ruins in Guatemala

The importance of Uaxactun as a great astronomical sight and a ceremonial locale is seen in the way the ruins lay today. The Group E is the most enchanting of these ruins and is around a quarter hour walk to the south of the airstrip here. The E1, E2, and E3 structures are arranged north to south and form a great observatory and in fact this is the first round observatory in the world of the Mayans.

Structure E-VII-B has an observation point from the Maya could see the sun rising and also were able to identify the equinoxes and the solstices. So the autumn and the spring equinox and the summer solstices were all identified well from here. This foundation goes back to the times of 2000 BC and the Structure E-VII-B is magnificent with its truncated pyramid with four sides and a staircase. There are masks of turtles, jaguars, parrots and eagles that border the structure. There is a very impressive stele on the eastern stairway and it is carved on the four sides depicting the observation point. This is a place where you would also get to see the Mayan Arch and also the main pyramid. There have been many excavations here and these have destroyed many temples and these in the process of being restructured today. Uaxactun is a place which is located on an unpaved road and there is a jungle closely and there is an airstrip here which is not in use but has been built for convenience. There are many residents of Uaxactun who make their living from gathering all spice, chicle, and xate palm leaves.

Structure E-VII-B

The year 2012 sees a great upliftment of the Maya culture and thus the Uaxactun ruins gathers a great place in the tours here. There is going to be a yearlong celebration with the upliftment of Maya culture and the development of many ceremonies.

Thus this Middle Preclassic site came into being sometime in the Late preclassic times. The initial name was actually Siaan K’aan meaning Born in heaven. The name Uaxactun was selected for reference to a stone that goes back to the 8th b’aktun. Though the ruins are really not very well preserved Uaxactun has a great attraction for many coming there.

There are small lodging and dining options here which make up the forest community here. The Campamento El Chiclero is a popular accommodation here and with the camp and hammock facilities it is very popular here.

During the spring and the autumns equinox, Uaxactun is replete with a lot of celebrations and there are sunrise ceremonies performed by the learned Maya or tatas who are spiritual leaders and nanas who are female spiritual leaders. There is lot of singing and dancing and specially trained athletes perform the dances. Enjoy this cultural feat by living in a home stay.

Uaxactun

One can visit Uaxactun from El Remate, Tikal of Flores. There is a bus from Santa Elena which reaches Uaxactun.

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Fascinating Tales from the Mayan Ruins http://www.journeyidea.org/fascinating-tales-from-the-mayan-ruins http://www.journeyidea.org/fascinating-tales-from-the-mayan-ruins#comments Mon, 02 Apr 2012 08:00:31 +0000 Ricky http://www.journeyidea.org/?p=8249 Central America is not devoid of having surprises for the travelers who visit here. This is one intriguing region of America which never ceases to offer some of the most special views, and give some of the best travel moments in this part of the world. So while you are here, the Mayan Ruins obviously form a priceless experience for you.

Mayan Ruins

Central America’s Mayan Sites are one of the major reasons to travel to this part of the world. So enjoy your tours to the Mayan ruins and get to know this part of the American history better. The Mayan ruins with their intricate details and their size leave the tourists dumbfounded with pleasure.

So whether it is the archaeological Tikal ruins in Guatemala and Copan in the Honduras, or the Tazumal in the El Salvador region,  and the Belizian Xuanantunich, the Mayan ruins of Central America are a must see for any tourist wishing to see something exotic and exciting in his travels.

The Guatemala Tikal Ruins

Located in the El Pelten region of Guatemala the Tikal ruins are the most impressive Mayan culture that are visible in the world. This very fascinating portion of the Mayan Empire seems to be an endless chain which never ends. They come out of the Peten jungle and go back as if they are some ancient Gods appearing out of nowhere. A pre dawn sunrise trek here is very popular on tours to this place. Go to the Temple IV and enjoy the sights that beckon you here.

Guatemala Tikal Ruins

The Belize Altun Ha Ruins

This again is a greatly mesmerizing experience in this part of America. So get to see the most well preserved ruin of the Mayan civilization and enjoy the shades of the obsidian and jade that have been excavated here in the land of Altun Ha.   This is very suggestive of the fact that the region served as site for trading in this part of the world. Here the 15 centimeter jade head of the Sun God of Mayan culture, Kinich Ahau is very famous. This was actually found in a tomb belonging to the Altun Ha’s temple of the masonry Altars.

Belize Altun Ha Ruins

The Belizean Nim Li Punit

The Nim Li Punit is another ruin that is very famous and popular in these tours. This is located in the hills that lie below the Maya Mountain in Belize and gives the best scenic views. of the coasts of Belize and the Caribbean lowlands. There are many archaeologists who believe that this was also a great trading centre of the Mayan Empire and there have been many trading merchants here belonging to the villages nearby.

Belizean Nim Li Punit

The Guatemala ruins at the Uaxactun

Around 25 miles from the famous Tikal ruins lies the Uaxactun Ruins which are found in the Biosphere of Guatemala. This is given the name Uaxactun because it means eight Stones. As there are four major structures that are in line with the sunrise here it is believed that they represent the solstices and equinoxes and are thus related to the Mayan logic of astronomy.

Guatemala ruins at the Uaxactun

The Belize Lubaantun

This is another locale in this part of the world and the Mayan Ruins found here boast of many unique and special characteristics. There is the hand cut black slate and there are many structures made out of limestone. This is a site that was found by Mitchell Hedges Crystal Skull. There are a mysterious lot of ruins and lie in the Toledo District of Belize.

Belize Lubaantun

Then there are the Copan Ruins of Honduras, the Tazumal ruins at El Salvador, the Xunantunich Ruins in Belize, and the Lamanai Ruins in Belize besides the Caracol Ruins here and then the Quirigua Ruins in Guatemala which enthrall the tourist completely.

Come to the land of Central America and enjoy the pleasures of the Mayan Ruins. The sheer sight of the lovely ruins takes you down a historical past and fills you with extravagant travel delights.

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The Lost City of Ciudad Perdida http://www.journeyidea.org/ciudad-perdida http://www.journeyidea.org/ciudad-perdida#comments Mon, 06 Sep 2010 08:35:40 +0000 Ricky http://www.journeyidea.org/?p=3733 Ciudad Perdida translates to Lost City (from Spanish to English). This ancient city has hidden in the depths of Sierra Nevada jungle and has evaded human eyes for a long time now. The discovery of Ciudad Perdida could perhaps be what could be dubbed as the greatest of all the archaeological finds of this century.

Once this city was discovered hiding here in the jungles, virtually untouched by any traces of modern day civilization, the archaeologists began verifying facts about this city. According to experts, this city dates back to around 800 A.D.

The exact location of this city is what is called Buritaca according to modern day administrative maps; and this spot, according to the local tribes that still inhabit the areas around, is called ‘Teyuna’.

Ciudad Perdida Sierra tours

Discovering Ciudad Perdida:

Ciudad Perdida was discovered in the year 1972, and this happened accidentally when a group of in-the-making treasure hunters chanced upon stone steps that seemed to be leading up the mountain. They followed the path and chanced upon one of history’s greatest secrets. Talk about getting lucky with finding a treasure!

These local treasure hunters first named this city as ‘Green Hell’; and authorities were not notified about the existence and the accidental discovery of this city. They found out later, when gold urns from this ancient city, began making appearances in the black markets.

The Designing of this Ancient City:

Here, the city of Ciudad Perdida is known to resemble its more famous neighbor, Machu Picchu. Both of these cities are built upon high terraces; these have been cut out directly from the mountains.

Believe it or not, a trip to Ciudad Perdida could take up to around 5 days to complete. This is because the one and only way to make your way to the city would involve climbing up somewhere around thousands steps that have been set in this dense jungle. Along the way, you’ll also combat some carved tunnels; and the only way to get through them is on all fours (well almost).

The tunnels and the loose stones that made up for the stairs were a matter of security.  These helped by informing the locals of anyone approaching their territory.

The usual town squares were given a miss in the case of the Ciudad Perdida and these get replaced with town circles. The roads that join the various parts of the town were created to look narrow and tiled.

Ciudad Perdida

The Locals – The Original Discoverers:

The local tribes of Arhuacos and Koguis, who live around the area, claim that they’d always known about the existence of this lost city; but they’d kept mum about it.  They believed that the city, which they called ‘Teyuna’, was said to be at the center of a chain created by a number of villages that were said to be inhabited by the forefathers of these tribes.

If they are right, then Ciudad Perdida may have been the financial and political capital of the region.  As per the design and the structure of the city, it can be gauged that 6000 to 8000 people may have lived there at some point in time.

Note:

The steep climbs and descends will make for quite an exciting trip; and will make it even more memorable for the adrenaline junkies. But this will not change the fact that it requires a high level of fitness if you plan on doing this trip. It will take around 5 days to complete this entire trip; and be prepared to encounter some rather interesting and difficult parts along the way (and we’re not just talking about the mosquitoes!).

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5 Pyramids you ought to know about http://www.journeyidea.org/5-pyramids-you-ought-to-know-about http://www.journeyidea.org/5-pyramids-you-ought-to-know-about#comments Fri, 06 Aug 2010 07:05:12 +0000 Ricky http://www.journeyidea.org/?p=3450 If you’re anything like us, then there’s only two kinds of pyramids that you would have heard of. The first resides in Egypt, and they’re called great for a very good reason. The second was a kind of marketing scheme that was actually a scam. But there’s more to pyramids than just this. Pyramids are sacred structures built all over the world and not just limited to Egypt. The whole point of traveling is to gain a better understanding of new cultures and if you share the same opinion as us then you have to bear witness to these pyramidic structures.

Pyramids of Guimar (Tenerife)

Generally when someone says pyramid there are very few images that spring to mind. If you’re very lucky, you know of those in the Amazon Basin or in Indonesia. But if you want a slice of something seriously mysterious, take a trip to Tenerife in the Canary Islands. For starters, traveling to and staying in Tenerife is not nearly as expensive a deal as traveling to Egypt so that’s a good start. Then, when you tell your friends that brag about having gone to the pyramids, that you’ve seen the pyramids that they don’t even know about, enjoy the moment as you see them pick their jaw up off the floor. Built from volcanic rock, the pyramids of Guimar are inexplicable in that they are as large as any other major, mainstream pyramid you know of and yet, absolutely no one knows who built them or why or even when. Of course, when there is no real story behind it all, people start to make things up (idle mind is the devil’s workshop and all that). Some say the Aztecs built them, others whisper the name of the Freemasons. The fact is no one really knows the truth. It could well be that a time traveling genius went back in time and constructed it just to mess with everyone’s minds. That explanation is as plausible as anything else. The ancient Romans knew a thing or two, and their scriptures state that these islands were completely uninhabited, so you know something really strange happened when even they were stumped. What is known is that these pyramids have underground chambers beneath them, so perhaps they were hiding places. Only time traveling genius’ known the truth about these pyramids.

Pyramids of Guimar

Pyramids of Meroe (Sudan)

Are you in Africa and looking for more pyramids to gaze at, but don’t know where to go? Well, you’re in luck because we do. As you head from Khartoum to Port Sudan, near Bagrawiya, you will pass the archaeological site if the civilization known as ancient Meroë. Here you will find a group of pyramids bunched up over a small hill. These pyramids are smaller than those you would find in Egypt and are what is left of a royal cemetery used by the Meroitic kingdom. Realize though that the Nile valley lay in the north of what we know today as Sudan and as the Egyptians became more power hungry and started to capture larger tracts of land closer to the Meroitic kingdom. This resulted in a cultural closeness and a very real proximity between the two kingdoms as can be seen from the influences they had on one another right until the time the Egyptian empire collapsed in the twelfth century B.C. Several centuries elapsed and it was to be the lot of the kings of Napata to rule the Nile Valley and consequently revive the burial traditions of the pyramids. The Pharaohs were long gone and soon the Napatan kingdom too was in decline, leaving Egypt eventually transferring kingship to the Meroitic empire in the 3rd century B.C. So while the Egyptian pyramids are monuments to royalty, the pyramids of Meroe are very large graves, containing over fifty pyramids for royalty alone. In fact, even the Romans copied the Nubians, as can be seen in the pyramid of Cestius in Rome. Imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery.

Pyramids of Meroe

Tomb of the General (Eastern China)

Time was when Chinese pyramids were considered nothing more than the stuff of fiction, having never been witnessed by anyone nor having any tangible evidence proving its existence. But finally after several decades of hemming and hawing, it has finally been proven that there are indeed pyramids in China. For several years now, scholars have looked upon Chinese pyramids as constituting nothing more than large mounds but that is all a thing of the past now. The reason for so much conjecture about the existence of a pyramid can be pinned on two sets of stories doing the rounds. The first of these touched upon the existence of the mythical “Great White Pyramid”. Said to have been located in the Qining mountains, a photo of this is said to have existed in the American Military archives since 1945 after US Air Force pilot James Gaussman reported back to his superiors about a white jewel-topped pyramid that he saw while flying between India and China during the Second World War. However, with no one denying or accepting these claims, speculation continues to rage about its authenticity. It wasn’t until the turn of the millennium that China claimed something in the region of 400 pyramids existed in the Shanxi region. Not as large as the rumored “Great White Pyramid”, these pyramids were dismissed as nothing more than burial mounds. Fast-forward six years, and archaeologists discovered a set of ancient tombs dating back at least 3,000 years and covering 500,000 square meters. It was an unlikely water erosion that exposed part of a mountain and uncovered two of the tombs. Finally, proof was at hand. The Chinese too had their own pyramids, but the “Great White Pyramid” remained at large.

Tomb of the General

Brihadeeswarar Temple (India)

The Brihadeeshwarar temple was constructed under the auspices of the Chola ruler Raja Raja I, a king so awesome he had  the same name used twice. Legend has it that Lord Shiva appeared before King Raja Raja in a dream and told him to build the temple, for it would be remembered for the ages. An addendum to this story is that when Raja Raja I was in Sri Lanka he saw enormous statues of Lord Buddha adorning the landscape and seeing this was the final straw; that was what convinced him to build the temple. At least Lord Shiva had his facts right; the temple has been granted World Heritage Site by UNESCO, so he got that much right. The temple, constructed in granite has what is known in classical Indian architectural terms as a Vimana and Shikara with a Mandapam adorning the entrance. Raja Raja I’s directives and influence clearly shines through, with the temple wearing a look that can only be described as majestic. Little wonder then that this temple served as the blueprint for several other temples that came up after this during the time of the Chola empire and even after that. In fact, it is said that the king ascended the tower and climbed to the top where he was anointed with powers by the priests and he could then talk to the gods, in particular with Shiva and the entire temple complex. Located smack in the city of Tanjore, the temple is a perfect example of Indian pyramidic architectural styles as it was enhanced at several points in the 11th right up until the 16th century. But as they say, you can’t improve perfection and it remains till date the largest temple in India and a prime example of the architectural style.

Brihadeeswara Temple

Chichen Itza (Mesoamerica)

Chichen Itza is the most sacred city of the ancient Mayan civilization and what was once a bustling city spread over six square miles now lies almost in ruins. The ruins can be broken into two parts, the first being the classical Mayan period (and built between the 7th and 10th centuries A.D.) during which time the city was a major ceremonial hub. The other part ties in with the Maya-Toltec period (from the 10th to 13th century A.D.) and is the touristier of the two locations, with some outstanding sights and the sacred well. From the outset Chichen Itza was mainly agricultural and for a time arts and sciences really took off here, rocketing the city into prominence as a major nodal point for the civilization. With increased prominence came an increased amount of religiousness, and so Chichen Itza became a religious center as well as can be seen in the multiple structures such as the Temple of Three Lintels, House of Phalli, the nunnery and the church. But over time the foundations of this splendid city started to fall away and the Mayans abandoned their religious buildings and the agricultural land that came with it. Newer cities were constructed in the vicinity of Chichen Itza and the main city was only ever visited to perform rituals or bury the departed. It wasn’t until the 10th century that they returned. It is quite easily one of the most well known pyramid complexes in the word which includes Kukulcan’s Pyramid. Standing at 75 feet in height, this was built to suit astronomical needs and during the vernal and autumnal equinox, light bathes the main stairway forming 7 triangles that the body of a serpent. This eventually joins the serpent’s head carved in stone at the bottom of the stairway and several agricultural rituals could have been carried out here. When you think of all that Chichen Itza was, which included a holy city, royal quarters and a ball court for sports you can begin to understand its draw on the ancient Mayans just as it draws you in. And in the middle of this, they somehow managed to pack in a steam bath. To live the life of the Mayans vicariously is what draws everyone here, and to grab a slice of history for oneself is reward in itself when you visit Chichen Itza.

Chichen Itza

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Amazing Inca Architecture And Construction At Ollantaytambo http://www.journeyidea.org/amazing-inca-architecture-and-construction-at-ollantaytambo http://www.journeyidea.org/amazing-inca-architecture-and-construction-at-ollantaytambo#comments Fri, 18 Sep 2009 04:23:55 +0000 Ricky http://www.journeyidea.org/?p=1666 Ollantaytambo located at an altitude of 2,792 meters above sea level is an Inca archaeological site. Ollantaytambo is 60 kilometers northwest of Cusco in Southern Peru and lies on route to Machu Picchu on the Inca Trail.

The town of Ollantaytambo and the region surrounding it was conquered by Inca King Pachacuti. The town was part of the king’s personal estate. Post the conquest the king rebuilt the town and also carried extensive construction projects of terracing and irrigation. The served as a staying place for the Inca nobility and the terraces surrounding the town were farmed yanaconas who were retained by the king. After the king’s death the town came under the supervision of his family clan. The town again came into light during the Spanish conquest of Peru as it served as capital for the Inca resistance leader Manco Inca.

ollantaytambo mapIn Ollantaytambo, the key colonization had a general layout that was orthogonal, with 4 lengthwise roads being crossed by 7 parallel roads. The Incas constructed a mammoth four blocks large spanning plaza at the core of this grid that opened to the east side and was encircled by halls and other settlement blocks on its 3 other sides. The Inca structures located to the northern side of the plaza were constructed of unfinished stones occurring innately in the fields. Those buildings located to the western and southern side were constructed with well-cut and fitted stones. All those blocks that were situated on the south half of the town were constructed to the analogous design – each included duo kancha – compounds that had walls with 4 single room buildings located about a core patio. Constructions found in the north half display greater design variations, but, regrettably majority of them are in such a dilapidated state that their initial plan is difficult to decipher.

Ollantaytambo is one of the oldest occupied dwellings in the continent of South America. The town is bordered by a steep hill called the Cerro Bandolista. Incas had constructed a ceremonial centre on the hill. Also a large part of the hill facing the town was made into terraces by the Incas. One can reach the ceremonial center through a series of stairways. Other key attractions are the Inca storehouses. Incas had built several storehouses in the hills surrounding the city of Ollantaytambo. As these store houses were located at a higher altitude, thus they helped the Incas to preserve food material for a longer time. Also most of them have excellent ventilation system and are built on the slope, thus from the top side they could be filled with grains and the same grain could be emptied using a window on the down side.

Ollantaytambo granaries Stevage Ollantaytambo terraces Ollantaytambo

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The Great Pyramid of Cholula http://www.journeyidea.org/the-great-pyramid-of-cholula http://www.journeyidea.org/the-great-pyramid-of-cholula#comments Wed, 19 Aug 2009 17:05:37 +0000 Ricky http://www.journeyidea.org/?p=1398 Great PyramidThe Great Pyramid of Cholula is a gigantic shrine-pyramid complex situated close to the dual volcanic peaks of Iztaccihuatl and Popocatepetl and ten minutes proximity from the city of Puebla on the old highway route to Mexico City. It has been averred by the Guinness World Records as the largest monument globally with a mammoth assessed volume of above 4.45 million cubic metres, even toppling the size of the Great Pyramid of Giza by more than one-third.

Devoted to the eminent Aztec deity Quetzalcoati, the Great Pyramid of Cholula was believed to have been constructed by one of the seven giants known as Xelhua in accordance to the Aztec’s faith. Its ongoing construction spanned generations over 2nd century BC to the early 16th century wherein it expanded to no less than four times.

Great Pyramid of CholulaThe orientation of the Cholula Pyramid is to the North-North-West and is planned in accordance to the setting sun all through summer solstice. The presence of an innate spring could be the reason for the preferred site choice for construction. A chamber at the core of the pyramid may depict a man-made cave.

Subsequent to the collapse of Teotihuacan, Cholula became the highly significant centre of the Mexican uplands. The Great Pyramid at Cholula was discovered in 1910 during the making of a mental sanctuary. In the most primitive pyramid constructed close to the period of the Teotihuacan pyramid erection around c.100 B.C., one can find the presence of taludtablero patterns coloured in shades of red, yellow and black with insect- shaped creations that are typical of Teotihuacan technique.   These overbearing resemblances made most experts to believe that Cholula was a sister concern city to Teotihuacan.

Built atop the first pyramid, the second Great Pyramid at Cholula adopted a drastically different architectural style with its constructors making stairways on all four sides of it for easy access to the pyramid top.

pyramid tunnelIn 1200, the Toltecs overtook the region and the Temple of Quetzalcoatl was used as a ritualistic area, with the Great Pyramid being left as an epic ruin. In 1359, the foes of Aztecs, the Huexotzingo kingdom lay siege over Cholula and as the Spanish overcame Cholula, the Great Pyramid was already in shambles since long, that it simply appeared as an innate hill.

The great pyramid of Tipanipa at Cholula when noticed from afar looks like a huge hill with a Colonial church, the Nuestra Señora de los Remedios, perched at its peak and encircled by a city. A famed allegory goes that when the locals came to know that the conquistadors planned to attack the land, they sorted out a swift work force to bury the pyramid in soil in a bid to protect.

The inner areas of the pyramid up to five miles have been widely dug up that offers keen sightseers a rare chance to peer at the varying phases of build up. As one ascends the incompletely made pyramid close to the church, the geometrical outlines of the initial structure rising to four levels above the ground are visible. The mighty snow covered volcano, El Popocatépetl that disconnects this valley from the Mexico valley can be seen from here.

Amongst the numerous relics discovered by archaeologists is a fifty meters long vividly coloured mural that features human forms in life size given the name ‘The Drunkards’ as it showcases scene of intoxication with the liquid concerned mostly obtained from mushrooms or peyote.

cholulaThe Great Pyramid of Cholula Cholula Pyramid Cholula first pyramidGreat Pyramid pyramid the pyramid of cholula

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Rio Azul – Lost Maya City – Part III http://www.journeyidea.org/rio-azul-lost-maya-city-part-iii http://www.journeyidea.org/rio-azul-lost-maya-city-part-iii#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2009 15:05:29 +0000 Ricky http://www.journeyidea.org/?p=1115 mirador rio axul nakbeThe robbed burials of Tomb 12 that were discovered in 1985 lay beneath the highest temple complex, there were glyphs found on the walls that referred to the four chief directions in accurate orientation. A blue colored vessel was found that was considered to be a grave offering or a gift from Rio Azul ruler that is placed in the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Also unravelled was the most ancient kind of discovery was a four inch high Maya statuette sculpted in a form of a whistle about 1,500years ago in an untouched burial of Tomb 23 and may depict the buried noble. A glyph found on a pot from a companion burial Tomb 19 depicts the riverside city. A 1,500 year old skeletal remains of a tall Mayan along with precious artefacts were uncovered from Tomb 19.

Valuable items were mostly concealed in memorial caches amounting to Rio Azulthirteen in number discovered underneath the floor of a temple. A big carved ear flare covered with cinnabar and a two inch long intricately carved shell pendant was among the artefacts uncovered in cylindrical jars.

Though most of Rio Azul’s fortunes are part of private collections, one can still find numerous pieces on show in Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología in Guatemala. A road connecting Uaxactun and Rio Azul goes through Naachtun-Dos Lagunas Biotope travelable only during the arid season through four wheel drive.  One can hike or trek or hitch a horseback ride to this secluded outpost that takes nearly five days in one way. Visits can be organised at Campamento El Chiclero located in Uaxactun.

rio azulOn arrival at the site, one would need to pass the Rio Ixcan to reach the guards camp location located on the other side. The exact archaeological site is a further six kilometres along well-maintained road that follows north twelve kilometres to the border area of Tres Banderas.

An must visit is Santa Lucía Cotzumalguapa about 71kilometres east from Mazatenango where one can find located close to the town stand within the fields and sugarcane plantations impressive stone heads chiselled with fantastic faces and magnificent relief views that depict the mesmeric Pipil culture that boomed between A.D. 500 -700.

Rio Azul – Lost Maya City – Part I

Rio Azul – Lost Maya City – Part II

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Rio Azul – Lost Maya City – Part II http://www.journeyidea.org/rio-azul-lost-maya-city-part-ii http://www.journeyidea.org/rio-azul-lost-maya-city-part-ii#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2009 18:43:22 +0000 Ricky http://www.journeyidea.org/?p=1109 Rio AzulThe premier national park in Guatemala, the Tikal National Park has a site that is the world’s first UNESCO World Heritage Monument. Tikal, a big Mayan city encircled by immaculate Tropical Forests started being inhabited between 800 B.C.-900A.D.

Rio Azul donned a crucial role in the Tikal’s expansion and was its significant ally against its bitter rival, Calakmul.

However, by A.D. 530, the unexpected happened with Calakmul rio azul tombattacking Rio Azul. In the Late Classic period, Tikal got back its past grandeur and Rio Azul’s populace grew yet again with new monuments being built. Though Tikal spans 112 sq.kms of which, a mere 16 sq.kms has been recorded and as many as 4000 structures been found till date.

The Tomb 1 that was bore the ravages of the looters has intricately woven mat designs at the entrance that was an indicator of royalty. There was believed to be the presence of an eight inch high fuschite mask inlaid with shell and painted with cinnabar, bearing a glyph on its back referring to Rio Azul was believed to be the underworld deity of the Palenque triad that had been robbed.

rio azul tomb1Unearthed Tombs 19 and 23 depicted remnants of high standing nobles from central Mexico flanked by symbols of high status like pottery with effigy lids, plates, jade beads having carvings of miniature face and skulls, specially woven cloth mattress, eccentrically shaped cherts. Tombs 19 and 23 were situated beneath platforms that bordered a central temple built over Tomb1.There were nine similarly lidded tripod vessels in Tomb 23 and six of them in Tomb 19 were each embellished with a wide mouthed head donning ear flares that depicted the influence of Teotihuacan that is located 600miles northwest of Tikal, near present day Mexico. A miniature rectangular jade that looked like a gritted fist was discovered in a carcass’s mouth in Tomb 23.

Rio Azul – Lost Maya City – Part I

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