Tuesday, March 17, 2015

El Tajin Archaeological Site

The first two photo's of a photo are someone's idea of how 
the ancient templed city of Tajin might have looked in its day in 700 to 1000 A.D. 

There are murals that explained about their way of life. 

 This is how the ruins are laid out in Tajin.  The "central plaza" surrounded by four huge temples is in the upper right of this photo.  We entered the ruins from the top of this diorama.
We are approaching the ruins and will walk between two of the four pyramids which surround the central plaza.

Juan was our English speaking guide and said the people learned as they built.  At first they piled up dirty which they covered with rocks.  The rains came and the dirt settled and the structure collapsed.  Next, pictured below, they piled up rocks and covered them with layers of rocks but that collapsed as well from all of the weight.

Juan Angel Garcia Gonzales was our guide through the maze of ruins.

The structure below is famously called the Pyramid of the Niches because it has 365 niches (areas to put things) in it and was how the king kept track of when to plant and when the solar calendar of 365 days and lunar calendar of 260 days aligned and it was time to built another temple.  The people thanked their gods for allowing them another 52 year of life by building temples.  The construction of the Niches is very advanced and each layer is not built on the one before but each has its own foundation that goes to the ground. 
The niches were actually rather large.  At times it seemed that we had the pyramids to ourselves.

This stately structure pictured below is simply known as "building 5" with two temples on top.

There is only a little color and design remaining here and there.  

These huge rocks are made of cement mixed with pumice (to lighten the weight) and fell from the roof of a structure.  They are still huge and heavy but not as heavy as they could have been. 
This photo is to show how the ruins could very easily have been covered for centuries and over run by the surrounding forest.
This grassy area is one of the "I" shaped ball courts.  It is one of the 14 ball courts but not the famous "south ball court" with its murals.

Below is a photo of a photo of the south ball court.  
How was it we didn't even take one photo of the court while we were there??

These are two of the 6 murals from the south ball court that explain the rules and purpose of the game that ends with a sacrificed human talking to the rain god to ask for more rain for their crops to grow.   

They had a drainage system and the streets were covered with flat rocks.

 There were designs on their buildings and stairways to other levels where we couldn't go.
Some buildings had columns. 

The elite had serious walls built where they didn't want others to enter. 

The king and the elite lived up above the city center in a place known as Little Tajin where they could look down on the others.  They now cover structures that will later be opened for public display.

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