11 giugno 2018

Coba (Spanish: Cobá) is an ancient Mayan city on the Yucatán Peninsula, located in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. The site is the nexus of the largest network of stone causeways of the ancient Mayan world, and it contains many engraved and sculpted stelae that document ceremonial life and important events of the Late Classic Period (AD 600–900) of Mesoamerican civilization. The adjacent modern village bearing the same name, reported a population of 1,278 inhabitants in the 2010 Mexican federal census.

The ruins of Coba lie 44 km (approx. 27 mi) northwest of Tulum, in the State of Quintana Roo, Mexico. The geographical coordinates of Coba Group (main entrance for tourist area of the archaeological site) are North 19° 29.6’ and West 87° 43.7’. The archaeological zone is reached by a two-kilometer branch from the asphalt road connecting Tulum with Nuevo Xcán (a community of Lázaro Cárdenas, another municipality of Quintana Roo) on the Valladolid to Cancún highway.

Coba is located around two lagoons, Lake Coba and Lake Macanxoc. A series of elevated stone and plaster roads radiate from the central site to various smaller sites near and far. These are known by the Maya term sacbe (plural sacbeob) or white road. Some of these causeways go east, and the longest runs over 100 kilometres (62 mi) westwards to the site of Yaxuna. The site contains a group of large temple pyramids known as the Nohoch Mul, the tallest of which, Ixmoja, is some 42 metres (138 ft) in height.[4] Ixmoja is among the tallest pyramids on the Yucatán peninsula, exceeded by Calakmul at 45 metres (148 ft).

Coba was estimated to have had some 50,000 inhabitants (and possibly significantly more) at its peak of civilization, and the built up area extends over some 80 km². The site was occupied by a sizable agricultural population by the 1st century. The bulk of Coba’s major construction seems to have been made in the middle and late Classic period, about 500 to 900 AD, with most of the dated hieroglyphic inscriptions from the 7th century (see Mesoamerican Long Count calendar). However, Coba remained an important site in the Post-Classic era and new temples were built and old ones kept in repair until at least the 14th century, possibly as late as the arrival of the Spanish.

The Mayan site of Coba was set up with multiple residential areas that consisted of around 15 houses in clusters. All clusters were connected by sacbeobs, or elevated walkways.

Six major linear features were found at the Coba site. The first feature that was often found at Coba was the platforms that were connecting the clusters to the sacbeobs. These were found at almost every single cluster of houses. Single or doubled faced features that were found around the majority of the household clusters. These were often linked to the platforms that led to the sacbeobs. A lot of features found tended to connect to something or lead to something but the other end was left open-ended. Coba has many features that are platforms or on platforms. The last major linear feature that was constantly found was sacbeob-like paths that were someway associated with natural resources of the area.

Sacbeob (Mayan plural of sacbe), or sacbes, were very common at the Coba site. They are raised pathways, usually stone paths at this site, that connected the clusters of residential areas to the main center of the site and the water sources.These paths were the connecting points to most things at the Coba site. They were the major feature discovered and preserved. Sacbeobs were the main reason why maps of Coba could be created. The sacbeobs were one of the ways they figured out how to excavate the site and transect the area. The sacbes were used to help determine the size of Coba.

Archaeological evidence indicates that Cobá was first settled between 50 BC and 100 AD. At that time, there was a town with buildings of wood and palm fronts and flat platforms. The only archaeological evidence of the time are fragments of pottery. After 100 AD, the area around Coba evidenced strong population growth, and with it an increase in its social and political status among Maya city states which would ultimately make Coba one of the biggest and most powerful city states in the northern Yucatán area. Between 201 and 601 AD, Coba must have dominated a vast area, including the north of the state of Quintana Roo and areas in the east of the state of Yucatán. This power resided in its control of large swaths of farmland, control over trading routes, and — critically for a Mayan city — control over ample water resources. Among the trading routes, Coba probably controlled ports like Xel Há.

Coba must have maintained close contacts with the large city states of Guatemala and the south of Campeche like Tikal, Dzibanche, or Calakmul. To maintain its influence, Coba must have established military alliances and arranged marriages among their elites. It is quite noteworthy that Coba shows traces of Teotihuacan architecture, like a platform in the Paintings group that was explored in 1999, which would attest of the existence of contacts with the central Mexican cultures and its powerful city of the early Classic epoch. Stelae uncovered at Coba are believed to depict that Coba had many female rulers.

After 600 AD, the emergence of powerful city states of the Puuc culture and the emergence of Chichén Itzá altered the political spectrum in the Yucatán peninsula and began eroding the dominance of Coba. Beginning around 900 or 1000 AD, Coba must have begun a lengthy power struggle with Chichén Itzá, with the latter dominating at the end as it gained control of key cities such as Yaxuná. After 1000 AD, Coba lost much of its political weight among city states, although it maintained some symbolic and religious importance. This allowed it to maintain or recover some status, which is evidenced by the new buildings dating to the time 1200-1500 AD, now built in the typical Eastern coastal style. However, power centers and trading routes had moved to the coast, forcing cities like Coba into a secondary status, although somewhat more successful than its more ephemeral enemy Chichén Itzá. Coba was abandoned at the time the Spanish conquered the peninsula around 1550.

The first mention of Coba in print is due to John Lloyd Stephens where he mentioned hearing reports of the site in 1842 from the cura (priest or vicar in Spanish) of Chemax, but it was so distant from any known modern road or village that he decided the difficulty in trying to get there was too daunting and returned to his principal target of exploring Tulum instead.[6] For much of the rest of the 19th century the area could not be visited by outsiders due to the Caste War of Yucatán, the notable exception was Juan Peón Contreras (also used the nom de plume Contreras Elizalde) who was then director of the Museum of Yucatán. He made the arduous journey in September 1882, and is now remembered for the four naive pen-and-ink sketches that he made at the ruins (prints made from them exist in the Peabody Museum and in the collection of Raúl Pavón Abreu in Campeche). Teoberto Maler paid Coba a short visit in 1893 and took at least one photograph, but unfortunately did not publish at the time and the site remained unknown to the archeological community.

Amateur explorer (and successful writer of popular books wherein he described his adventures and discoveries among Maya ruins) Dr. Thomas Gann was brought to the site by some local Maya hunters in February 1926. Gann published the first first-hand description of the ruins later the same year.[8] Dr. Gann gave a short description to the archeologists of the Carnegie Institution of Washington (CIW) project at Chichen Itza, he spoke of the large mounds he had sighted, but not visited for lack of time, lying to the northeast of the main group. It was to examine these that Alfred Kidder and went for a two-day inspection of the site in March. Two months later Thompson was again at Coba, forming with Jean Charlot the third CIW expedition. On this trip their guide, Carmen Chai, showed them the “Macanxoc Group”, a discovery that led to the departure of a fourth expedition, since Sylvanus Morley wanted Thompson to show him the new stelae. Eric Thompson made a number of return visits to the site through 1932, the same year he published a detailed description. In 1932 H. B. Roberts opened a number of trenches in Group B to collect sherds.

In 1948 two graduate students in archaeology, William and Michael Coe, visited Coba, intent on seeking the terminus of Sacbe 15. They were unaware, unfortunately, that E. Wyllys Andrews IV already reported it ten years prior. In an editor’s note following their report[12] Thompson blames himself as editor for failing to detect the repetition of prior work in their contribution, while excusing the young authors for ignorance of a paper published in a foreign journal. But the Coes reported the previously unknown Sacbes 18 and 19 and mapped the large mound at the terminus of Sacbe 17, which they named Pech Mul (they were unlucky again in failing to complete their circuit of its platform, or they might have discovered the sacbe leading out of it, no. 21).

The site remained little visited due to its remoteness until the first modern road was opened up to Coba in the early 1970s. As a major resort was planned for Cancún, it was realized that clearing and restoring some of the large site could make it an important tourist attraction. The Mexican National Institute of Anthropology & History (INAH) began some archeological excavations in 1972 directed by Carlos Navarrete, and consolidated a couple of buildings. Expectations of new discoveries were borne out when El Cono (Structure D-6) and Grupo Las Pinturas came to light, among other features. In the same year, much of Grupo Coba was cleared on the instructions of Raúl Pavón Abreu; not even its tall ramón trees were spared.

In 1975 a branch road from the asphalted highway being built from Tulum to Nuevo X-Can reached Coba (fortunately the road engineers heeded objections by archaeologists and abandoned their original plan of incorporating Sacbe 3 in the roadbed). A project camp was built in 1973, and in 1974 the Project Coba proper, under the auspices of the Regional Center of the Southeast of INAH was able to begin its operations. During the three-year existence of the project, portions of the site were cleared and structures excavated and consolidated, (the Castillo and the Pinturas Group by Peniche; the Iglesia by Benavides and Jaime Garduño; El Cono by Benavides and Fernando Robles); the sacbes were investigated by Folan and by Benavides, who added 26 to the list of 19 previously known; the ceramics from test pits and trenches were studied by Robles; and Jaime Garduño surveyed two transects of the site, one of 10 km north-south and another of 5 km east-west.

At the start of the 1980s another road to Coba was opened up and paved, and a regular bus service begun. Coba became a tourist destination shortly thereafter, with many visitors flocking to the site on day trips from Cancún and the Riviera Maya. Only a small portion of the site has been cleared from the jungle and restored by archaeologists. As of 2005 the resident population of Coba pueblo was 1,167. It grew to 1,278 by the 2010 census.


Tulum (Spanish pronunciation: [tuˈlum], Yucatec: Tulu’um) is the site of a pre Columbian Mayan walled city serving as a major port for Coba, in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo.  The ruins are situated on 12-meter (39 ft) tall cliffs along the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula on the Caribbean Sea in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. Tulum was one of the last cities built and inhabited by the Maya; it was at its height between the 13th and 15th centuries and managed to survive about 70 years after the Spanish began occupying Mexico. Old World diseases brought by the Spanish settlers appear to have resulted in very high fatalities, disrupting the society and eventually causing the city to be abandoned.[citation needed] One of the best-preserved coastal Maya sites, Tulum is today a popular site for tourists.

This Maya site may formerly have been known by the name Zama, meaning City of Dawn, because it faces the sunrise. Tulum stands on a bluff facing east toward the Caribbean Sea. Tulúm is also the Yucatan Mayan word for fence, wall or trench. The walls surrounding the site allowed the Tulum fort to be defended against invasions. Tulum had access to both land and sea trade routes, making it an important trade hub, especially for obsidian. From numerous depictions in murals and other works around the site, Tulum appears to have been an important site for the worship of the Diving or Descending god.

Tulum was first mentioned by Juan Díaz, a member of Juan de Grijalva’s Spanish expedition of 1518, the first Europeans to spot Tulum. The first detailed description of the ruins was published by John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood in 1843 in the book Incidents of Travel in Yucatan. As they arrived from the sea, Stephens and Catherwood first saw a tall building that impressed them greatly, most likely the great Castillo of the site. They made accurate maps of the site’s walls, and Catherwood made sketches of the Castillo and several other buildings. Stephens and Catherwood also reported an early classic stele at the site, with an inscribed date of AD 564 (now in the British Museum’s collection). This has been interpreted as meaning that the stele was likely built elsewhere and brought to Tulum to be reused.

Work conducted at Tulum continued with that of Sylvanus Morley and George P. Howe, beginning in 1913. They worked to restore and open the public beaches. The work was continued by the Carnegie Institution from 1916 to 1922, Samuel Lothrop in 1924 who also mapped the site, Miguel Ángel Fernández in the late 1930s and early 1940s, William Sanders in 1956, and then later in the 1970s by Arthur G. Miller. Through these later investigations done by Sanders and Miller, it has been determined that Tulum was occupied during the late Postclassic period around AD 1200. The site continued to be occupied until contact with the Spanish was made in the early 16th century. By the end of the 16th century, the site was abandoned completely.

Tulum has architecture typical of Maya sites on the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula. This architecture is recognized by a step running around the base of the building which sits on a low substructure. Doorways of this type are usually narrow with columns used as support if the building is big enough. As the walls flare out there are usually two sets of molding near the top. The room usually contains one or two small windows with an altar at the back wall, roofed by either a beam-and-rubble ceiling or being vaulted. This type of architecture resembles what can be found in the nearby Chichen Itza, just on a much smaller scale.

Tulum was protected on one side by steep sea cliffs and on the landward side by a wall that averaged about 3–5 meters (9.8–16.4 ft) in height. The wall also was about 8 m (26 ft) thick and 400 m (1,300 ft) long on the side parallel to the sea. The part of the wall that ran the width of the site was slightly shorter and only about 170 meters (560 ft) on both sides. Constructing this massive wall would have taken an enormous amount of energy and time, which shows how important defense was to the Maya when they chose this site. On the southwest and northwest corners there are small structures that have been identified as watch towers, showing again how well defended the city was. There are five narrow gateways in the wall with two each on the north and south sides and one on the west. Near the northern side of the wall a small cenote provided the city with fresh water. It is this impressive wall that makes Tulum one of the most well-known fortified sites of the Maya.

There are three major structures of interest at the Tulum site. El Castillo, the Temple of the Frescoes, and the Temple of the Descending God are the three most famous buildings. Among the more spectacular buildings here is the Temple of the Frescoes that included a lower gallery and a smaller second story gallery. The Temple of the Frescoes was used as an observatory for tracking the movements of the sun. Niched figurines of the Maya “diving god” or Venus deity decorate the facade of the temple. This “diving god” is also depicted in the Temple of the Diving God in the central precinct of the site. Above the entrance in the western wall a stucco figure of the “diving god” is still preserved, giving the temple its name. A mural can still be seen on the eastern wall that resembles that of a style that originated in highland Mexico, called the Mixteca-Puebla style, though visitors are no longer permitted to enter.

Also in the central precinct is the Castillo, which is 7.5 m (25 ft) tall. The Castillo was built on a previous building that was colonnaded and had a beam and mortar roof. The lintels in the upper rooms have serpent motifs carved into them. The construction of the Castillo appears to have taken place in stages. A small shrine appears to have been used as a beacon for incoming canoes. This shrine marks a break in the barrier reef that is opposite the site. Here there is a cove and landing beach in a break in the sea cliffs that would have been perfect for trading canoes coming in. This characteristic of the site may be one of the reasons the Maya founded the city of Tulum exactly here, as Tulum later became a prominent trading port during the late Postclassic.

Both coastal and land routes converged at Tulum. A number of artifacts found in or near the site show contacts with areas all over Central Mexico and Central America. Copper artifacts from the Mexican highlands have been found near the site, as have flint artifacts, ceramics, incense burners, and gold objects from all over the Yucatán. Salt and textiles were among some of the goods brought by traders to Tulum by sea that would be dispersed inland. Typical exported goods included feathers and copper objects that came from inland sources. These goods could be transported by sea to rivers such as the Río Motagua and the Río Usumacincta/Pasión system, which could be traveled inland, giving seafaring canoes access to both the highlands and the lowlands.

The Río Motagua starts from the highlands of Guatemala and empties into the Caribbean. The Río Pasión/Ucamacincta river system also originates in the Guatemalan highlands and empties into the Gulf of Mexico. It may have been one of these seafaring canoes that Christopher Columbus first encountered off the shores of the Bay Islands of Honduras. Jade and obsidian appear to be some of the more valuable found here. The obsidian would have been brought from Ixtepeque in northern Guatemala, which was nearly 700 kilometers (430 mi) away from Tulum. This huge distance, coupled with the density of obsidian found at the site, show that Tulum was a major center for the trading of obsidian.

Tulum archaeological site is relatively compact compared with many other Maya sites in the vicinity, and is one of the best-preserved coastal Maya sites. Its proximity to the modern tourism developments along the Mexican Caribbean coastline and its short distance from Cancún and the surrounding “Riviera Maya” has made it a popular Maya tourist site in the Yucatan. Daily tour buses bring a constant stream of visitors to the site. The Tulum ruins are the third most-visited archaeological site in Mexico, after Teotihuacan and Chichen Itza, receiving over 2.2 million visitors in 2017. A large number of cenotes are located in the Tulum area such as Maya Blue, Naharon, Temple of Doom, Tortuga, Vacaha, Grand Cenote, Abejas, Nohoch Kiin and Carwash cenotes and cave systems. The tourist destination is now divided into four main areas: the archaeological site, the pueblo (or town), the zona hotelera (or hotel zone) and the biosphere reserve of Sian Ka’an. In 1995, tourism came to a brief halt as the powerful Hurricane Roxanne pounded into Tulum, packing 115 mph winds. Damage was moderate. Considered a tropical savanna climate typically with a pronounced dry season. The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is Aw (Tropical Savanna Climate).



29 aprile 2018
29 ottobre 2017

Oaxaca (pronuncia uahàka) è la capitale dello omonimo stato del Messico, uno dei più caratteristici per tradizioni culturali e gastronomiche. Il suo nome completo è Oaxaca de Juárez, in onore dell’ex presidente e eroe nazionale Benito Juárez, che era originario della zona.

La città, che sorge ad un’altitudine di circa 1550 m, è localizzata nella valle di Oaxaca nella Sierra Madre del Sud. Nei pressi della città si trova l’importante sito archeologico di Monte Albán.

Il suo centro storico è stato dichiarato Patrimonio dell’umanità dall’UNESCO. Tra i principali monumenti vanno ricordati la Cattedrale, la Iglesia de Santo Domingo e l’eccellente Museo della Cultura di Oaxaca.

Nell’area dove si trova l’attuale città di Oaxaca vi sono stati per migliaia di anni insediamenti zapotechi e mixtechi legati agli importanti centri di Monte Albán e Mitla. La città coloniale risale al 1532, quando coloni spagnoli al seguito dei conquistadores di Hernán Cortés richiesero con una petizione alcuni terreni alla regina di Spagna.
Cortés tentò di far allontanare i coloni rivendicando il possesso dell’intera valle di Oaxaca ma alla popolazione fu garantito un territorio pari ad una lega quadrata nel quale si sviluppò l’attuale città.

Nel corso del 2006 la città è stata teatro di numerose manifestazioni e scioperi, e dei seguenti scontri tra la polizia e i manifestanti. Nel maggio 2006 gli insegnanti chiesero al governo (dal 2004 presidente dello Stato di Oaxaca è Ulisses Ruiz Ortiz) di avere un aumento del loro stipendio, proprio in relazione all’elevato costo della vita. Le richieste non vennero accettate, né tanto meno fu aperto un tavolo di discussione, anzi il sindacato degli insegnanti fu sciolto. Nell’ottobre del 2006 le proteste ripresero, anche grazie al ruolo dell’APPO, assemblea popular de los pueblos de oaxaca. Il 27 ottobre 2006 ci furono violentissimi scontri. La polizia federale preventiva (pfp) represse le manifestazioni di disobbedienza civile, causando tre morti, tra cui quella del giornalista indipendente americano Brad Will (che lavorava per indymedia). Nei giorni successivi, anche su richiesta del presidente del Messico Vicente Fox, continuarono le azioni di repressione della polizia federale preventiva, con conseguenti morti, feriti e arresti. Il 2 novembre la polizia federale preventiva cercò invano di chiudere l’Autonoma Università di Oaxaca Benito Juarez, da dove veniva trasmessa Radio Universidad, radio legata all’APPO. Successivamente a tutti questi scontri, il governo accettò la richiesta di aumento salariale degli insegnanti, con la condizione che questi riprendessero subito il lavoro. Con questa mossa, il fronte di opposizione si è diviso e gli insegnanti accettarono di tornare al lavoro. Continua invece la detenzione di quanti sono stati arrestati negli scontri, come continua la richiesta di dimissioni per Ulisses Ruiz Ortiz.