From Ruins to Work

Posted November 27th, 2012 by Erin in Merida, Mexico

On Saturday October 6th, 2012 we took a trip to Uxmal and to a Hacienda and it was a day full of climbing and stepping back in time!

For this trip, the Art and Architecture teacher, Maite,  joined us as our tour guide and two visiting Professors from Indiana came along as well. Our first stop was to the ruins of Uxmal. This was the biggest site we had been too so far and one of the last ones that would allow us to climb on the ruins. So we all definitely enjoyed ourselves as we climbed an extraordinary amount of steps :)

The picture above is the tallest pyramid at Uxmal and it was the only structure that visitors are not allowed to climb. But we enjoyed many other pyramids throughout the site! One of the most amazing things to me is that one of the platforms that the “Governors Palace” was built on a man- made level. The first picture is actually taken on the platform and if you look under our feet is rock and concrete looking material semi-covered in grass and although you cannot see down it was built up about 10 or 12 feet to the first level and then an additional 15 feet to the “Governors Palace.” It just took my breath away that the Mayans had to do all the handy work to make that platform and other platforms we had seen possible.

This picture is the “Governors Palace” and it was very intricately decorated along the top. As you can see it is the tallest part of this platform and it is rather large. Plus it had one of the best views of the whole site :)

 

This is the corner of the Governors Palace and Ana is posing as Chaac, the Mayan water god, who is carved onto the side of the Palace. Chaac is and was a very important god to the Mayan people because they relied heavily on the rains. If the rains did not come there would be a shortage in water and a shortage of food for the entire village.

Of course we had to have our silly moment so Andrea decided it was time to have a sacrifice and Miranda decided that she would be honored to give her life. So here outside the Governors Palace the Merida 2012 group hosted a sacrifice! Fortunately Miranda made it out alive and we continued with our tour of Uxmal :)

On the last pyramid at the site Maite found a very rare carving of a Mayan Rulers face and she had to have a picture to remember the moment. She told us that this was a rare sight to see because when the Spaniards conquered the Mayan civilizations they destroyed the carvings of the Rulers to show that they had power above the Mayan Rulers. Keep in mind that the Mayan Rulers were seen as gods themselves so tearing down their portraits had a very significant meaning.

 

The last structure we saw in Uxmal was this wall and it was absolutely gorgeous as you stood back and took it in. Behind this wall was the jungle and it has started creeping its way back into the archaeological site.

We ended the at a Hacienda near Uxmal and one of the special things about this Hacienda is that the owner is trying to preserve it as a museum. Most of the Haciendas have either been left to ruins or have been converted into hotels and restaurants so you hardly ever get to see what the life for the owners looked like and get to see the machines the laborers were forced to use. The above picture is one of the machines located at this Hacienda and it is used to turn henequen into rope.

Since the house itself is being preserved as a museum we finally got to see the inside of the owners house and what kind of lifestyle they lived. At this particular Hacienda the family had a really nice house with pretty modern amenities considering the times. They had running water and a nice kitchen. The above picture is of a statue that greeted you as you entered the house and if you look at the walls you can tell that at one time they were very well decorated and beautiful. Just by looking around this house you could tell that the family was:

One – pretty well off when it came to money

Two- very influenced by the European style