Thursday, November 22, 2012

Mayan City Ek Balam

Mexico attracts many guesses to countless riddles it creates.It offers an abundance of topics for learning and reflection. The city of Ek Balam is not as well known among tourists, so in search of answers to questions that have accumulated after visiting Chichen Itza, I decided to explore the mysterious ruins of Ek Balam.

2. The city of Ek Balam is small in size. This diagram illustrates the tourist attractions of the main sites of the city. Where were the roads and houses? That is almost impossible to find out, even among the townspeople. Jungle quickly absorbed all that softer stone buildings.

3. The guides talk about the city, but only convey the conventional wisdom to visitors. I doubt the official point of view will duplicate your observations and reflections. This structure is the main gate to the city.  However, the absence of fortification raises the question of the need for these gates.
4. This is the oval palace, also called the observatory. Honestly, listening to the Mexicans, you would think that in the past every city and town was the center of science itself. In my opinion, this structure could well be an urban barn, or something like that.
  5. The main gate (the view from the oval palace) - the typical form of Maya architecture. It is known that the Maya did not have horses, so all the goods were transported manually. But even for a man with a load, to climb 45 degree inclines seems impractical.
  6. The buildings of the city are built very densely. This, however, seems to be only the case in Ek Balam. The structures of the other Mayan cities were located far away from each other. Here, it seems that everything is in the same area.
  7. A view of the Acropolis, or castle as it is called.
  8. This construction (acropolis), is clearly not a pyramid scheme. In this area of the Yucatan Peninsula there are hills. The structure is built on one of them. According to the guides, there sat the most important Maya in the area and in there, he was buried after his death.
  9. The left side of the acropolis.
10. And the right of it. Pretty well made construction.
  11. The height of the building is about 50 meters. A nice view opens.
  12. The upper part of the Oval Palace (view from Acropolis).
  13. About this building, the guide told us that here citizens brought taxes. The question was, what did they bring - dollars? pesos?  The resourceful guide said "yes - the money was not brought there, the taxes were salt", hence "brought". Such is the official explanation of the building.
  14. It's like a backyard acropolis.
15. This door leads to the inner rooms of the Acropolis. It, too, is in the typical Mayan style. Interestingly, the door of the ground floor is built in an entirely different style.
  16. And here is the wall with sculptures of Mayan culture. In tourist brochures, it is advertised as an original and well-preserved.
  17. Even in the photo, standing a few meters away from the wall, all the doubts are dispelled. This is a newly sculpted sculpture. But tourists have also something to photograph.
  18.The figures are carved out of local limestone. This stone is subject to erosion.
  19. Why is this building is called a field for ball games, I can not understand. Maybe it's easier on the tourists and the population. At Chichen Itza, this field is 10 times greater.
  20. Why is this game not played now? If it was so popular among the Maya that they built the arena next to their pyramids, why don't the local people still play it?

21. Again - after visiting Ek Balam, there were more questions than answers. Very surprising, the city is built strictly on a north-south direction while all the other ancient cities of the Yucatan built, for no apparent reason, their cities offset from the axis of the north - south by about 14 degrees. This can not be accidental. Most likely, the city was built not so long ago.

View Mayan City Ek Balam in a larger map

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