Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Tulum Ruins

The morning that Michaela and I set out to view the Tulum ruins was stormy and grey. Rain fell in dramatic bursts, drenching everything it touched. The wind whipped the palm trees around, their green leaves dancing in the air, bending and waving like so many sharp fingers. We pressed on up the dirt road leading to the site where the ancient walled city stood. Tulum played an important role in the Mayan's extensive trade network. Dating back to 564 A.D., this city overlooking the Caribbean, was where the land routes and sea trade routes converged. It is unique in that it is one of the few walled cities the Mayas built. It's primary structure, "Castillo" is stunningly situated on the tip of the bluffs overlooking the sea.
As we wandered the ruins in the rain, Michaela and I marveled at the tiny doorways, lovely meandering paths and dramatic vistas of the ruins against the dark sky. It's hard to imagine the grand city it must have been, bustling with small, fiercely proud people doing trade with the rest of Mexico and Central America. It was such a complex culture and they observed so much about the world around them. They are known as the only civilization on the pre-Colombian Americas to have a fully developed written language. They are known for their sophistication in art, mathematics, architecture and astronomy. The more I read about them the more fascinated I become. They also did human sacrifice....but that's not one of their more admirable accomplishments!
At the bottom of the bluff that the Castillo is perched on is a little beach. The sun was just beginning to pierce though the clouds as we headed down for a dip in the water. The sea was an irresistible shade of jade. It is so different seeing pictures of this color than being surrounded by it. Swimming in a gem, seeing it sparkle and change color ever so subtly - being saturated in it and seeing the deep, dark, sky above is unbelievable. It satisfies a visual hunger.


Arianna Elizabeth said...


Sean said...

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