Tulum, Mexico on the Yucatán Peninsula
We Visit Mayan RuinsPage 3


Getting There
Page 1
Page 2
The Village
Page 3
Flora and Fauna
Page 4
We Explore
Page 5
Story Links

A View of the Village
Before us was a fascinating scene of stone structures that were part of an ancient Mayan city. I was very impressed to actually see these ancient ruins for real. I’ve seen scenes like this only in photographs, TV and movies. It took a while for me to take-in all of what I was seeing. For a couple of minutes I suffered from visual-data overload; what John Denver called “filling up your senses.”

Looking toward the center of the village

The original name of Tulum was Zama, meaning “City of Dawn”. Because it is located on the east coast, this was one of the first cities to see the sunrise. The name was changed to Tulum which means fence or wall. Tulum is a walled city with rock walls on three sides and high cliffs facing the Caribbean Sea serving as a natural defensive-structure on the fourth side. The walls are irregular structures due to the fact that the walls follow the natural contour of the land. At the bottom of the cliffs is a beautiful, white-sand beach that today is used for family and tourist recreation. To get to the beach requires descending down a long stairway which doesn't look bad until it is time to climb back up the steps.

You can check out the beach here

As we followed our tour guide, he told us about what we were seeing as well as the cultural significance of each location. This all was heard through the remote listening devices we were wearing. Early in the explanations was the story about how many of the structures seemed to be crooked as if they had settled over the years. It turns out that the buildings were built in such a way that they followed the natural lay of the land. This was mentioned earlier about the shape of the wall around the city. It took a while for me to get used to the structures being built in such a way that runs counter to my desire for “level and true” type construction.

A view of the castle with the Temple of the
Descending God to the left of the castle

Palace ruins located across from the
front of the castle

The most imposing structure is the castle, located on the east side, overlooking the whole village. Across from the castle is the Great Palace which seems small to be a palace. Several smaller buildings were temples for various gods. Sitting on the top of the bluff, overlooking the Caribbean Sea, is the Temple of the Wind God which seems appropriate since the wind blows from the sea over the temple. The castle is flanked with the Temple of the Descending God on the north side and another small temple on the south side. What seemed to be the smallest religious structure is the Temple of Frescos.


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