Wednesday, March 01, 2006

One of my favorite books is Incidents of Travel in the Yucatan by John Lloyd Stephens. It´s a great travel adventure book written in the 1850s; Stephens and his friend Catherwood had heard of mysterious ruined cities in the wilds of the Yucatan, and determined to find out if the stories were true. And they certainly did!



I was reading last night about their stay in Merida, not more than a few blocks from where I am sitting right now, and how they had found that the site of Merida was itself a huge ancient city that the Spaniards had torn down to build their own city. Apparently there had been a huge pyramid right at the site of what is now the plaza grande. and that further very large ruins had been destroyed both for building materials, and because they were in the way of the street layout... simply amazing. I find it less disturbing than the wholesale destruction of all of the Mayan holy books, tho. Because with those we lost the soul of their culture. The buildings were monuments, in the main, to conquering heroes and so forth, as usual.

Here´s some pics from the books; they´re woodcuts made from Catherwood´s drawings. Compare to the photos from Uxmal further down in the blog.





6 Comments:

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5:18 PM  
Anonymous marlies said...

What a find! How fast civilizations can vanish. A couple of generations, and everything is (almost) forgotten. Only few of us who are always looking out for the "strange and unusual" - relative to the monotonous hum of mainstream consensus reality - will have the guts to dig deeper and find. Under the thin veil of historical disinformation, all of the Americas have a rich and healthy heritage that goes far beyond railway barrons and gold diggers, and even the founding fathers and their crypto-criminal helpers of various religious affilliations.

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