Amazing Mayan Culture

Trip Start Aug 09, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Honduras  ,
Monday, January 12, 2009

We finally made it to our first long awaited Mayan ruins.  We have both been fascinated by the Mayan culture and eager to learn more.  We spent the entire opening time there (9 hours) and had a book and then got a guide.  We really loved it.  It is labeled as the Paris of the Mayan world.  Has amazing carvings that have been preserved in their pyramids and sculptures and were an advanced society for their time.  People have seemed to live in this area since 1200 BC with the rise of the Copan empire from 426 AD until their mysterious disappearance around 925 AD.  The ruins at Copan contain the longest history of the Mayan glyphs on the Hieroglyphic Stairway which documents the history of the rulers.

Their collapse is said to be due to a few circumstances.  First their population grew significantly along with more demand for land and resources which started to disappear after so many hundreds of years of use.  Many skeletal remains show malnutrition and early death.  There is also evidence of major changes in the climate with intense droughts and disastrous flooding making the land less habitable.  In a way it sounds like what is happening today and makes me wonder if a thousands of years from now someone may discover the the sunken city of New York. 

I will highlight some points below and then just enjoy the pictures:
·Believed they were born from the flower of corn
·Believed in a type of heaven where the afterlife was better than this life.
·Used cocoa beans for money
·Understood the concept of zero
·Had a developed alphabet (glyphs) and numerical systems reading from top to bottom and right to left
·Knew the world was round and that four elder men carried the world on their shoulders rising and falling each day
·Monarchy government
·Advanced calendar system with 13 month calendar
·Played a ballgame to appease and balance the Gods/world where the best player was sacrificed

There are numerous other interesting points but would take a lot of explaining.  Some of the original sculptures have been moved to museums for preservation while other have been covered by roofs for preservation.  Enjoy the pics!
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