Mystic Itzá

10/26/2008

I first visited Chichén-Itzá about six years ago and cannot fathom why the entire United States is not obsessed with this major mystical and architectural wonder located a mere 1500 miles from downtown New York City. Perhaps it’s the Mayan blood I have running through my veins, but I’m pretty proud that while Europe was still in the midst of the Dark Ages, these amazing people had mapped the heavens, evolved the only true writing system native to the Americas, and became masters of mathematics. They invented the calendars we use today. Without metal tools, beasts of burden or even the wheel they were able to construct vast cities across a huge jungle landscape with an amazing degree of architectural perfection and variety. The Chichén Itzá complex is unbelievably extensive and includes ancient temples, pyramids, steambaths, sacred watering holes, a marketplace, and a mindblowing observatory. Their legacy in stone, which has survived in a spectacular fashion at places such as Chichén Itzá, (and Palenque, TikalTulum, and Copan), lives on as do the seven million descendants of the classic Maya civilization – including me!

Given this insanely rich history, and its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it astounds me that most people I know have never heard of one of the greatest (and conveniently located) Pre-Columbian centers our hemisphere has ever known. So next time you are planning a long weekend in Cancun, rent a car and take a drive 150 miles down the coast, drop your bags off at the magical, sustainable, and impeccably green Hacienda Chichén, and educate yourself, man.

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