Presentation on theme: "THIS WEEK Monday – Mexico & the Pyramids Tuesday – Central America & Population Pyramids Wednesday - Google Earth Thursday – Welcome Mrs. Julie Vargas,"— Presentation transcript:
THIS WEEK Monday – Mexico & the Pyramids Tuesday – Central America & Population Pyramids Wednesday - Google Earth Thursday – Welcome Mrs. Julie Vargas, Haiti/Dominican Republic Friday – Work Day for Demographics Project
Only 12% of the land is fit for farming and cultivation and less than 3% has sufficient amount of water. This, on top of high levels of water pollution, deforestation, soil erosion and land deterioration, has made it difficult for Mexico to capitalize on agriculture as a major means of gross income.
In its classic period, running about 250 BC through 850 AD, the Mayan civilization ranged from Mexico through Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador.
During the first millennium AD, the Mayans reached levels of civilization rivaling those of ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome.
They were superb astronomers, architect/builders, athletes and mathematicians. But for some unknown reason they never discovered the wheel.
Everyone moved out by the thirteenth century, so when the Spaniards came in the 1500s they found crumbling buildings being devoured by the greedy jungle. A New York lawyer rediscovered them in 1842, following which an influx of amateur archeologists destroyed some. Real restoration and reconstruction by the Carnegie Institute and Mexican government was begun in 1922, and continued for 20 years. The aggressive Toltecs conquered the Mayans, introduced them to the practice of human sacrifice and with their labor rebuilt the city as a religious center.
Mayan Pyramids of Chichen Itza Video Mayan Pyramids of Chichen Itza 360 Tour
In times when Chichen Itza flourished as a city, the Mayas formed a highly sophisticated society. Their elite did remarkable work in astronomy, mathematics, engineering and architecture, while the rest provided manpower to execute the plans. Largest of Mayan cities, Chichen Itza was started around 400 AD, abandoned and returned to several times before the Toltecs arrived in 987 AD.
The Observatory Mayan Pyramids of Chichen Itza Video Mayan Pyramids of Chichen Itza 360 Tour
The massive Kukulcán pyramid called "El Castillo" is roughly at the center of the site. Climbing it is quite a challenge and those who make it are rewarded with a spectacular view of the city and surrounding country side. A trip inside the pyramid is quite the opposite. The dark, unbearably humid corridors and chambers are too much for some people. “THE CASTLE”
The four sides of this pyramid contain 365 steps (depicting the solar year), 52 panels (for each year in the Mayan century as well as each week in the solar year) and 18 terraces (for the 18 months in the religious year). Inside, the Castillo is an interesting temple accessible up a narrow stairway.
If you stand facing the foot of the temple and shout, the echo comes back as a piercing shriek. Also, a person standing on the top step can speak in a normal voice and be heard by those at ground level for some distance. This quality is also shared by another Mayan pyramid at Tikal.
The Temple of the Warriors is a massive temple structure, surrounded by hundreds of carved columns. The columns continue on into the jungle, that part of the temple still has not been restored. It's an unsettling sight to see how easily the forest has reclaimed the area. What unanswered questions still lay under the canopy of leaves and beneath the twisted roots?
No Maya text remains to explain the rules of the game, but it is known that among Maya kings and nobles, the ball game had ritual significance and was associated with warfare; the depiction of a decapitated player in the ball court suggests that in some competitions warriors lost their lives.
Contains some of the best preserved structures at Chichén Itzá. They appear to be the living quarters of the elite Mayans. Every square foot of wall has reliefs and paintings decorating it.
East of the major Chichen Itza ruins is a dark underground world the Mayans called Cenoté. They are deep water filled sinkholes formed by water percolating through the soft limestone above. Since the porous soil held little water, these underground bodies were extremely important to the city. A visit to one is a spine chilling experience. Entry is through a vertical hole with narrow stair steps carved by the Mayan's themselves. The air is thick and musty. One misstep on the slimy ledges threatens to send you falling over 20 feet.
Once your eyes get used to the light level a bizarre world takes shape. Stalagtites of blood red limestone seem to ooze from the dripping walls. Ahead is a strange green pool of glowing water. As you approach the pool you notice roots of trees hanging before you. In their search for water they've penetrated the ceiling, dropping 50 feet to the pool below. It's like an eerie underground forest.
Once a year, in April, the beam of light touches the tip of the stalagtite. There are many instances of ancient peoples building monuments to take advantage of events like these, but this is something that is totally natural and unplanned. There is a darker side to this and other Cenoté, however. In the wells around Chichen Itza have been found scores of skeletons. Mayan carvings depict human sacrifices at these sites.