Thursday, 13 December 2018

Mexico: Tulum

El Castello

There are three Tulums: the town (pueblo), the beach hotels where are staying and the Mayan ruins. This post is of course about the latter. Tulum is interesting in that it is the only Mayan city by the coast and the only one with walls around it. It was also one of the last to be built, albeit in a style which is more rough and ready than in the classic period.

You enter the site through a narrow passage way and emerge next to the Casa del Cenote: a building built on top of a cenote (a sinkhole-cum-well).

Over to the left, the coastal side, is an attractive round building, the Temple to the Wind god.

Looking inland it suddenly becomes clear that Tulum is quite a large site.

Next up on the same side is the imposing Palace of the Great Lord.

And the seaward side comes a small building which has an unusual carving over the doorway: a statue of the Descending God. A careful look reveals that his feet are over his head.

We pass round the back of the Castello and come round to look at its imposing seaward side. The Spaniards named it as a castle, but it seems that it was primarily a watch tower. Did the Maya know the Spanish were on their way? There is a nice view out to sea for the modern tourist.

And here is a view looking back towards the Castello.

Heading inland we admired the Temple of of the Paintings. This may have been the last Mayan building to be built before the Spanish conquest. It has carvings as well as paintings

As we ended this lovely walk we had a couple of nice nature encounters: a fine iguana (actually they were all over the site) ...

... and a pair of brown Coatis (we saw black ones in Costa Rica a few years back).

Conditions: hot

Rating: four and half stars. I was surprised by how big the site was. The sense of surprise is increased by the very narrow entrance way.

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