Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Hiking the Yucatan :: Ek' Balam

The wild beauty of Ek' Balam is captivating. I had no idea what to expect from this place as it isn't talked about much, and we had a hard time finding it. There are next to no road signs and it was literally 'off the grid.' I had been very diligent about buying the extra GPS maps for Mexico, but it was of no help finding this location. We went by it twice and in circles for another half hour. But it was all worth it once you step through that ancient doorway.

Ek' Balam Sacbe
Somewhere between 700-1,200 BC Ek' Balam was at its height. It always strikes me when I hear how advanced the old world of the Americas was so long ago. And makes me wonder what event caused its downfall. For this site, they believe it was a siege on the city by an enemy based on the how hurried one of the city walls had been constructed and looks to be crushed.

The main pyramid of this site is considered one of the largest ever excavated in the Yucatan. Because of its low profile (and lack of wall-to-wall tourists) you are still able to climb and explore it. In my last post you will see the view from the top down the steps. Somehow I managed to take this picture from the top, but no picture of the full pyramid? Clearly I was distracted by the carvings and secret doorways. It was captivating sitting on top of this pyramid. The Mayan jungle sprawling out across the low lands and the wind cooling us off from the heat. It did have a way of transporting you to another time with only the sound of the wind and nature and no modern architecture anywhere to be seen. Thankfully, both the hubby and my oldest daughter managed to take pictures that I can share. One of the best was of the huge 'monster mouth' mid-way up the main pyramid. This is a portal to the Mayan underworld. It is hard to capture the right angle to represent the size and dominance of this doorway under the thatch roof of the pyramid. 



There is a series of sacbes, or raised 'white way' that connected the ancient Mayan Kingdom from one site to another. At the end of the road you'ld pass through an archway as you entered one of the Mayan sites. You can see the beautifully preserved one of Ek' Balam with the raised stone road that connected this site. We saw these sacbes at all the sites we visited. I could image all the travelers through the ages walking across these stones, traveling between cities, trying to make their way in the world.

11 comments:

Natashalh said...

Wow - what a cool place! IT reminds me a bit of some Guatemalan sites my dad went to in spring '15. I've never traveled in central or South America, but it's on my to-do list!

Therese's Treasures said...

It always amazes me that all of these places are hundreds of years old and made without modern machinery. I believe they were the masters of architecture.
Thank you for sharing,
Therese

JoJo said...

Wow! What a great find and not a lot of tourists.

Magic Love Crow said...

WOW!!! WOW!!!! Such history! It really makes you wonder, when you see such amazing buildings from the past. Good for you, going to a different spot, that wasn't talked about too much! Big Hugs!

Miss Val's Creations said...

Your persistence paid off. What an awesome site to find in the jungle. I love that portal to the underworld. The sacbes must have been so cool to walk across.

Anna said...

How very interesting and picturesque! You're a gifted writer, as well as beader, Cynthia. It's so fun reading about your journeys and the history of different cultures :)

Debra She Who Seeks said...

What a beautiful, magical place! You know, we never heard of Ek' Balam when we were in the Yucatan peninsula. Too bad -- looks like we missed a special treat!

krishna said...

A place full of history and mystery.. how such a advanced civilization disappeared?

Duni said...

Fascinating! I love places that aren't overrun with tourists...and discovering secret doors :)

Melissa at bubbyandbean.com said...

I've only been to Tulum (which was amazing), but this looks just incredible. Thank you for sharing!

windrock studio said...

Thank you for a wonderful trip to such a beautiful and hidden spot.

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