Friday, January 27, 2023

10 Mayan SECRET PLACES that were Hidden for Centuries

The Mayan civilization is full of secrets. Even experts have been baffled by their highly sophisticated writing system, their knowledge of mathematics and astronomy, and the amazing architectural marvels they managed to create without any modern equipment.

Every year, archeologists and researchers use the most advanced technologies to uncover the mysteries hidden behind the walls of temple complexes, buried in the depth of sacred cenotes and caves. Well, how they managed to create them is a matter of discussion, but let’s not get into that… Instead, let’s see at some of these marvelous architectural accomplishments. Tour guides never reveal these secrets of centuries-old ruins to ordinary tourists:

Don’t you have time to watch the full video?
Check here all TIMESTAMPS + full TRANSCRIPT !

TIMESTAMPS :

00:36  —  The Serpent Illusion
02:12  —  The cave of the sacred Jaguar Throne
03:37  —  A place for performing rituals
04:12  —  137-feet (42 meters) high pyramid
04:52  —  One of the last cities inhabited by the Maya
06:07  —  Pyramid of the Magician
07:33  —  The Tomb of King Pakal
08:36  —  One of the most powerful Mayan cities
09:21  —  The murals of Bonampak
10:09  —  The Temple of the Great Jaguar

TRANSCRIPT : 

  • #1  –  Temple of Kukulkan, Chichen Itza
    Built sometime between the 9th and 12th centuries CE as a temple to the Mayan serpent God KuKULkan, this structure was almost completely hidden in the forest and partially covered in vegetation when it was first photographed in 1880… The pyramid-like structure consists of a series of square terraces with stairways on each of the four sides that lead to the top of the temple. Each of the staircases has 91 steps, and when combined with the topmost temple platform makes a total of 365 steps, the same as the number of days in a year. Whether that was by design or is just a lucky coincidence, we might never know… However, what we do know is that all the unimaginable engineering that went into the erection of this monument produces an illusion that seems like magic. During the autumn equinox and the vernal equinox, one can see a snake-like shadow crawling on the pyramid’s balustrade. It moves upwards in March and downwards in September. The illusion goes on for almost 3 hours and attracts thousands of tourists… If you thought the serpent illusion was the only great feat achieved by the ancient architects, you’re wrong. The pyramid hides another secret. Below the upper layers of stones lies another smaller-sized pyramid, and under it is a third pyramid also.

  • #2  –  The Balancanché caves
    This place isn’t included on the classic tourist route, but given how awesome the atmosphere is inside, you wouldn’t want to miss it! The name translates to “the cave of the sacred jaguar throne”… By Jaguars, they mean Mayan leaders, not the spotted feline like you might have guessed. These mesmerizing caves were first discovered by two American archaeologists in 1905 and have since then stirred curiosity. In 1954, a local guide named José Humberto Gómez unexpectedly stumbled upon a secret wall… He was curious about what was behind it, so he started removing the stones until there was a gap large enough for him to crawl through. Beyond the wall, he found several passageways, all of which seemed to end in dead-ends. Undeterred, he continued his pursuit. As luck would have it, he finally found a passageway that led him to a cave. And what he found there was astonishing. Being the native that he was, he immediately recognized the huge stalactite and stalagmite formations inside as representing the sacred tree of the Mayans. He had, by chance, discovered the Mayan World Tree or Mayan Tree of Life, as we know it today.

  • #3  –  Cenote Ik Kil
    This sinkhole is located in the Yucatán State of Mexico. And boy, believe me, this place is otherworldly… While the Mayans used this site as a place for performing rituals, today tourists can be seen swimming… Vines from the top of the opening reach all the way down to the water, along with many small waterfalls. You don’t have to worry about being hungry or finding a place to change clothes after all the fun in the water. This place has a restaurant, a changing room, and cottages for rent.
  • #4  –  Nohoch Mul Pyramid
    The Chichen Itza’s KuKULkan Pyramid has been closed for climbing since an accident in 2006. So if you think your trip will be incomplete without climbing a pyramid, then this 137-feet (42 m) high pyramid is the place you should visit… If you aren’t afraid of heights and can muster the energy to climb its 130 steep steps to the top, you’ll be able to get a remarkable view of the Yucatán, along with the non-public areas of Coba, including two lagoons: Macanxoc Lagoon to the east and Cobá Lagoon to the southwest.

  • #5  –  Ancient city Tulum
    It’s the only Mayan city on the shore of the Caribbean Sea, located 39 feet (12 m) upon the cliffs of the Yucatan peninsula. This well-preserved Mayan city was one of the last cities built and inhabited by the Maya… According to experts, the original name of the city might have been Zama, which means the City of Dawn, which is appropriate since it faces the sunrise. The three most popular structures in the city are El Castillo, the Temple of the Frescoes, and the Temple of the Descending God… Unlike other Mayan cities, Tulum was surrounded by impermeable walls that protected the city from the attacks of nomadic tribes from the north. Thanks to these walls, the city managed to survive about 70 years after the Spanish began occupying Mexico… This place is not just ideal for tourists seeking to soak in Mayan history, but also for lovers of nature. A large number of sinkholes are located in the Tulum area, such as Maya Blue, Naharon, Temple of Doom, Tortuga, Vacaha, Grand Cenote, Abejas, and Nohoch Kiin.

  • #6  –  Pyramid of the Magician, Uxmal
    The tallest and the most recognizable structure in Uxmal is also known by other names, like the Pyramid of the Dwarf, Casa el Adivino, and the Pyramid of the Soothsayer. Like many other pyramids, this too is at the center of many mythological stories. I’ll tell you two that concern its various names… According to one legend, a magician named Itzamna, single-handedly erected the pyramid in just one night, using his magic and might. According to another, the city of Uxmal was destined to fall to a boy who was not born of a woman when a certain gong was to be struck. One day the gong was struck by a dwarf who was hatched from an egg laid by a childless, old woman. The sound of the gong struck fear into the city’s ruler, and he ordered the dwarf to be executed. The ruler later took back his decision and promised to spare the dwarf’s life if he could perform three seemingly impossible tasks. One of the tasks was to build a massive pyramid, taller than any building in the city, in a single night. The dwarf ultimately completed all the tasks, including the construction of the pyramid. And therefore, he was spared… Tourists visiting this site can also watch a sound and light show, presented in both English and Spanish, every evening.

  • #7  –  Temple of the Inscriptions, Palenque
    This temple was built as a tomb for King Pakal, the ruler of Palenque in the 7th century. Construction of this monument started in the last decade of his life and was finally completed by his son and successor… The inner walls of the temple are inscribed with about 600 hieroglyphs, some of which are yet to be deciphered. A hall with three chambers is located at the top of the pyramid. In 1949, one of the chambers revealed a sacred passage to the ruler’s tomb, filled with ancient treasures and artifacts… Pakal’s death mask is an extraordinary artifact, made entirely of jade, with eyes crafted out of shells, mother of pearl, and obsidian. If you want to see it with your own eyes, then you should know that there’s a catch. Tourists aren’t allowed to enter the tomb. But don’t get disheartened; you can see an exact copy exhibited in The National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico.
  • #8  –  The Mayan city of Yaxchilan
    Located not far from Palenque, the ancient city, Yaxchilan, was one of the most powerful states in the Mayan empire. The city is known for its well-preserved stone ornamentation above the doorways of the main structures known as lintels. These lintels contain hieroglyphic texts that give insights into the history of the city… Until recently, it was difficult to reach the site other than by river or by air. No roads existed within 100 miles. This changed after the construction of the Border Highway by the Mexican Government in the early 1980s. Since then, these ruins have had a steady influx of tourists.

  • #9  –  The murals of Bonampak
    This city, located near Yaxchilan, might not be overly impressive, but it more than makes up for it with the murals located in the Temple of the Murals… The first non-Mayans to discover the site were American travelers Herman Charles Frey and John Bourne, who were led to the ruins by a local Maya who still visited the ancient temples. The murals depict the Mayan rulers, dancing people, musicians, battles, and acts of sacrifice… According to Professor Mary Miller, who specializes in Mayan art, no other artifacts from the Mayan times offer a better glimpse of the society than the Bonampak paintings.
  • #10  –  The Temple of the Great Jaguar, Tikal
    This temple is located at the heart of a World Heritage Site and is surmounted by a characteristic roof comb that’s distinctive of Maya architecture… The temple was built as a funerary temple, and in the year 1962, archaeologists were finally able to locate the tomb of the ruler who built it. The body of the king was covered with large quantities of jade ornaments, including an enormous necklace with 114 especially large beads, weighing about 9 lb (4 kg)… On December 21, 2012, as part of the celebration of the end-date of the Mayan calendar, the modern Maya held a fire ceremony in front of the temple; more than 3,000 people participated.

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