June 18, 2010

The Maya

The reason I've been quiet for the past few days is that I've not been here. Needing a break from work, I took a brief trip to Belize with a two-fold intent. Snorkeling the world's longest coral reef... and exploring Mayan history.

Today, as I prepare to return to the States, I'll post a few photos from Lamanai, the northern Belizian site that is home to the tallest Mayan temple yet unearthed. Lamanai is the one of the largest pre-classic sites in the Mayan world, with over 700 structures identified and several unearthed and restored.

Steps leading up to the Mask temple.
The reason it is called the Mask temple. There is one of these 10-foot tall mask carvings on either side of the steps.
The archaeologists think this might have been some kind of arena. Mayans would meet each other in various sporting challenges. The winner of the game was awarded the privilege of becoming the next sacrifice.
The Jaguar temple. So named because the image of a jaguar can be made out if one views the temple from a certain angle.
This is the Lag, or the High temple. From ground level this structure rises over 100 feet. Climbing is difficult due to the really poorly spaced steps (too tall and far too steep), but climbing is allowed. The assist rope is visible running up the steps in this photo.
Looking down from the top it is easy to see just how steep is the climb.
The view from the top of the High temple is spectacular, allowing an unobstructed 360 degree panorama. This view shows the lake around which the city grew.
The climb up was tedious and very tiring, but here is proof that even an old fart can achieve a dream. Descending is every bit as difficult.

Now, I need to pack the Macbook and prepare for boarding. I'll post a few other photos later.


One Fly said...

I envy you and your journey MB. Thanks for this and looking forward to more pictures.

Anonymous said...

Exactly what O.F. said.