Americas, Mexico

Mayan masterpiece in Mexico

No Comments 17 July 2010

Mayan masterpiece in Mexico

Despite spending time in mammoth Mexico City, colonial Puebla, beautiful Guanajuato, and elsewhere, the only place the Monkey remembered to get his photograph taken was in Quintana Roo, a state fronting the Caribbean on the Yucatan Peninsula. It’s not all a wash, because the Monkey did get some good shots at the beautiful seaside Mayan temple at Tulum.


Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico
The Monkey clamors on the seaside cliffs at Tulum. Behind him you can see the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean and the largest structure of the Mayan settlement, known by its post-conquest name as the castillo (castle). The ancient Maya civilization stretched across much of what is today southern Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador, and significant Maya communities remain in the former two locations today.

Tulum was an important Maya city in the pre-Columbian period, serving both ceremonial and administrative purposes from its majestic clifftop setting. When the Spanish conquistadors first laid eyes on Tulum in 1518, they were duly impressed, noting that, “we sighted a city or town so large that Seville would not have appeared bigger or better.” At that time, Tulum would have appeared much larger than it does today, as the (since collapsed) dwellings of its inhabitants encircled the walled core of the city. Today, the site is a Mexican national monument, and one the Monkey very much enjoyed visiting.

Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico
The Monkey gets a different view over the Mayan ruins at Tulum. In the distance you can see some of the dense forests of the Yucatan peninsula.

Cactuses at Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico
The Monkey gets himself into a prickly situation in Tulum, Mexico.



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Mexico

   FAST FACTS


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Population:

109,955,400 (2008)

Land area:

1,923,040 sq. km.

Capital:

Mexico City (Distrito Federal) (pop: 8,735,400; 2005)

Economy:

In 2006, Mexico ranked 53rd in the UNDP Human Development Index and 14th in total GDP, with a per capita GDP of $8,051.92. Public debt accounts for 22.8 percent of total GDP, while 13.8 percent of Mexicans are beneath the poverty line.

Main language(s):

Spanish

Monkey's name:

El Monito (El mo-nee-toh)

Fun fact:

Mexico’s best known drink must be tequila, a strong liquor distilled from the spiny leaves of the blue agave plant. Much like the French regional designations for Champagne and Cognac, Mexico’s strict tequila codes dictate that only five areas of the country can legally produce a drink called tequila.



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