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Visiting the Mayan City of Chichen Itza

I got reacquainted with the Mayan civilization - which extended from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala all the way to the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico -  when I saw a TV documentary about ancient cultures a few years ago. The Mayans established theirs around 2000 BC, and it flourished before the end of the first millennium. They developed math, astronomy, arts and architecture that rivaled other great civilizations. 

One of the places that the documentary mentioned was Chichen Itza, one of the largest Mayan city-states. It  became the dominant city starting around 10th century AD, after the decline of Mayan cities such as Tikal in Guatemala, Bonampak in Chiapas, and Althun Ha in Belize, enabling it to control the Yucatan peninsula and set its hegemony. It was conquered by the Spanish conquistadores in the 17th century.

A I was armed with this historical back story when I set out on a 150-kilometer bus ride from Cancun to Tinum to visit the ancient city. Lots of other bits of history we…

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