Sunday, August 1, 2010

Tikal - Mayan Magic

From Antigua the journey went to the largest Maya site - Tikal
Towering above the rainforest, the site is pure magic ... here a couple more basics:

The Maya were organized into kingdoms, in which social and economic life was an extension of a rigid political hierarchy. At the top were the king and high lord - and his royal family, followed by an elite stratum of priests, warriors, and scribes; next came economically valued artisans and traders; and finally, holding it all up were subsistence farmers and servant workers. the system rested on a cultural belief that the high lord had some influence with the powerful and dark gods of the underworld, who sometimes took the form of a jaguar when intervening in human affairs. This view was reinforced through the ruling elite's elaborately staged power displays, a temple theater of awe.
Even before the germ-ridden Europeans arrived, the cultural underpinnings of Maya society were already coming undone. a prolonged drought had caused severe economic hardship, leaving the impression tha the kings and priests had somehow lost their supernatural touch. it was left to the Spanish, however, to officially cancel the show.

The sheer scale of the ruins at Tikal is almost overwhelming. Its thankfully easy to get lost in the rainforest and enjoy the temples by yourself! My favorite was temple No. 5 - 58 meter high! - some say you haven{t really visited Tikal unless you have climbed the ladder at the side of Temple 5 (Swantje and Carina were no fans ...)but the view is simply breathtaking - sometimes quiet literally. A must for anyone interested in the Mayan culture ...

1 comment:

Tekla said...

Very nice! I wonderful trip. Now you can come back!