In the country of the ancient Maya
The plane arrived in Merida late in the evening. After the coolness of Cordiller, humidity and heat felt here. Merida – a small Mexican city with a population of 300 thousand inhabitants, built during the conquists. Such cities are typical for Latin America. Remarkable is that, being the capital of the Mexican state Yucatan, it is the starting point for excursions to the country of the ancient Maya. It is here, on Yucatan, the most interesting maya centers are located: Chichen-Itts, Ushmal, Caba, Labn and Sail.
Hasha Group is located in the hotel "Casa del Bama" Not far from the main square of the city. The next morning after breakfast, we went on a bus in Chichen-Itza – ancient Mexican city 125 kilometers to the west of Merida. After two and a half hours of driving to the left of the road, one of the main attractions of Chichen-ITS was seemed – Pyramid Cukulna.
The bus stopped in front of the entrance to the so-called "Archaeological region". Before you start inspection, I decided to climb the pyramid to get a general idea of the ruins of the ancient city. Lifting the stairs to the top platform of the pyramid is unsafe. Only one, the western staircase, is restored, and it can be climbed by it, holding over the stretching along the iron chain. When looking at the bottom on the stairs you do not feel the prospects, it seems that the width of the steps below and at the top of the pyramids are the same. This optical deception seems to be created to enhance the magical effect of the construction. In fact, the staircase expands up thus so that exactly compensate for the effect of perspective. Top view opens an impressive view of the whole area of the city. A few steps from the pyramid to the northeast – the perfectly preserved stadium for the game ball with nearby "Temple of Jaguar", In three meters meters to the north, a lake is visible, in which the Maja priests threw unfortunate victims, the Observatory and several other less significant buildings were located in the south. From the top platform begins the move with a narrow and steep staircase leading to the interior of the pyramid. Lighting the path with a flashlight, you can go down to almost the very foundation of the pyramid and get into the cramped inner chamber in which "Chuck Mool" – Impressive gray stone sculpture. Having a sculpture of later origin, and its purpose is unknown so far, but scientists agree on the toltert origin of the sculpture.
The Pyramid of the Cukulin is significantly less than the great pyramids of the sun and the moon in Teotoacan, but it is better preserved and therefore applies, undoubtedly, to the most interesting pyramids of her light. I remembered the time in the spring of 1969 in Egypt at the Pyramid Micherina Conversation between the tour Heyerdal and me. Then Heyerdal, locating in a tent with his companions a few dozen meters from the pyramid, watched the completion of the ship building "RA-1", Preparing for first journey through the Atlantic Ocean. Having learned that Heyerdal in Egypt, I came from Assut to get acquainted with the construction of the ship and the future crew. Knowing knowingly, I will receive a positive answer, I asked Heyerdala, if he considers it a possible one origin of Egyptian and Mexican pyramids. Heyerdal replied affirmatively, because it was what he wanted to prove his expedition to "R".
Carefully descending from the pyramid, I headed for the stadium. The stadium in Chichen-Itts is among the most preserved Maya buildings. It is a complex architectural complex consisting of cult facilities, benches and platforms for viewers, high walls serving a barrier for the ball, and numerous stairs leading to platforms.
Actually, the stadium, t. E. The field where the game occurs has a rectangular shape, the lower platform is located along its sides (at a height of about 1.7 m), covering three sides of the rectangle, leaving one completely open. On two sides of the rectangle, walls rising with a height of about eight meters, in the middle of which two stone rings are built against each other. If one of the teams threw the ball into the ring, she won the match, despite the negative glasses that could get during the game. Hado note that getting into the stone ring, built-in at an altitude of about eight meters, is very difficult, if you consider that players could touch the ball only hips, elbows and knees.
The walls of the stadium are the additional platforms for the audience, for which you can get along the stone stages from the outside of the stadium. In the southeast corner, on the top platform, the house is located "Jaguara" – One of the most interesting buildings of Chichen-ITS. His entry is two massive columns, made in the form of winged coils with a scaretime revealed huge mouth. The walls of the stadium are decorated with bas-reliefs with images of different moments of the game of the ball, players in peculiar clothes and events accompanying game.
From the stadium we went to the sacred lake, where, as scientists believe, the ancient Maya made human sacrifices of the Rain. Completely round, with shepherd shores and dark green water, it produces an unnatural impression.
The lake is surrounded by a thick rainforest (as well as the city of Chichen-Itza). At the beginning of the century, the American archaeologist and the then Vice-Consul of the United States in Mexico Taylor dried out the lake and found a great many beautiful golden products at the bottom, most of which subsequently asslaved in the US museums. His all years ago, we could see the exhibition of American gold in the Hermitage containing the most interesting items found by Taylor.
Late in the evening we returned to Merida. The other day, according to the program, we were expected to have another, no less interesting journey to Ushmal. However, by the mood of my satellites, it was clear that they were very tired and at the first opportunity ready to refuse this trip. The ability to change the program emerged spontaneously. The bus driver José on the way back told us about the town of Progressco, just twenty kilometers from Merida, where there is a beach and you can get enough to get into the waves of the Gulf of Mexico. However, I decided to make an independent trip to Ushmal and return to the hotel dinner. The other day at 6 o’clock 30 minutes I went out of the hotel and, using the city map, I barely found the bus station, hardly late for the only bus, going through Ushmal. The bus was almost empty: besides me, there were one elderly couple from the USA and a student archeologist from Germany. It was old, who saw the type of car, but in a deserted road, she confidently held the speed of 100 km per hour, the air conditioner also worked well.
The road was completely deserted. Asphalt, despite the heat, looked untouched, huge trees often closed the sky, and bizarre animals ran out the road. The temperature outside the bus reached 430s. After a half hours, the ruins of ancient buildings appeared – it was Caba. The main structures were left of the road. The most interesting turned out to be "House masks". This is a long oblong construction at a low platform, having four inputs leading to unspoile interior. A distinctive feature of the whole building was that all his walls were covered with identical masks of the Rain God with characteristic, in the form of a lying question mark, a huge stone nose. This mask met us and on the walls "Temple of warriors" in Chichen-Itts, and later constantly accompanied us in Ushmale.
We sit down on the bus and go to Ushmal. A few minutes later, the ruins of the big city are shown on the left. The bus stops opposite the main attractions of Ushmal – "Houses wizard", Sometimes called also "House Dwarika". "House" is a 30-meter pyramid with an oval cross section. The top court is located a small pavilion, to which the indoor stairs come from the east and west.
We leave the bus, and I am going to the pyramid, followed by a student, an elderly couple prudently bypasses the pyramid side. The angle of lifting here is more than in Chichen-ite, the state of the stairs is worse. However, we save the chain, lying along the stairs, and we safely get to the top platform. Right under us, west of the pyramid, lies well-preserved square building with a flat court in the yard. This is the so-called "monastery", Lefter preserved the remains of a stadium to play the ball, much less impressive than in Chichen-ite, south of the pyramid you can see a well-preserved building on a spacious, high parapet – Palace "Manager", Further see the ruins of large pyramids and numerous other buildings.
The whole city is in Besrenem, it seems like at least the top of the pyramid, the rainforest. The descent is harder than the rise, not only because it usually takes place, but also because the Western staircase, according to which we decided to descend to immediately get into "monastery", much worse preserved and not equipped with a rescue chain.Going down on all fours face to the pyramid, on top of us are watching the nose masks of the rain’s god built into the pavilion, as if requiring sacrifices. There is an indescribable heat, and very stuffy. Safely going down, we went to the building, for some reason wearing name "monastery".
"Monastery" It is a square single-storey building with a spacious square courtyard. It just like the palace "ruler", Well preserved. The inner walls are richly decorated by the masks of the god of rain and typical of the Mayan architecture with a rectangular ornament. Along the western wall we saw a sinusoidal image of a snake with a human head in a disclosed grazing. Going through the arch from the yard "Monastery" and passing by the dilapidated stands for the fans of the ball game, we approached one of the most preserved monuments of Ushmal – to the palace "ruler", located on two platforms. Hanging platform is relatively high from the surface of the Earth, and on it in front of a wide and steep staircase leading to the upper platform and to the palace, is located "Throne double-headed jaguar" – Small stone statue serving cult goals. Hepopically over the steps on the top platform stands the Palace itself – a semi-storey building in the form of oblong parallelepiped with a richly decorated facade. The palace niches were relatively cool, and we sat down to relax and silently comprehended seen. Then I got up and once again slowly walked around the palace, looked around "monastery" and pyramid.
Sprawled heat, I slowly went to the bus. After a half hours a bus brought us to Merida. I managed to dine in the hotel restaurant, as our group filled the hotel’s lobby. It turned out that progress is very inappropriate for swimming. The beach is not equipped with umbrellas, and in the conditions of the tropical Sun, my friends are very burned. Many regretted that they did not go with me in Ushmal.