Friday, November 6, 2009

Mixco Viejo

With all the craziness of the past month, somehow this blog about our trip to some local ruins got missed. Sorry! Back right before we went private (sore subject, we know) we made took the scenic drive over 2 hours away to the ruins of Mixco Viejo outside of San Juan Sacatépquez.

A bit of history {thanks to Lonely Planet - there are absolutely zero informational signs at the site}. Mixco Viejo was the active capital of the Poqomam Maya when the Spaniards invaded Guatemala. The location is awesome, wedged between deep ravines with only 1 way in and 1 way out. To add to the impressiveness, the Poqomam people built a rock wall around the entire city. Legend says that it took Conquistador Pedro Alvaro and his troops more than a month to conquer Mixco Viejo, which at the time of it's height was said to support close to 10,000 people. After the invasion, Alvaro had the city burnt and depopulated.

The ruins themselves are architecturally different than any other ruins we have seen. Strangely, they look new - almost too new - like they were renovated a little too well! Archeological excavations were carried out from 1954 through 1967 by the Musee de l'Homme of Paris under the direction of archaeologist Henri Lehmann, who believed that he was excavating the Pocomam capital as described in Colonial records. The ruins consist of 15 groups containing the remains of over 120 major structures, including temples, palaces, and courts for playing the Mesoamerican ballgame.

The day we were there, the parking lot appeared like not another soul was in sight. After being charged a shifty entrance fee {the tickets had been stamped with the "new" price on the back side}, we hiked in where we surprisingly came across a large group of Guatemalans who were having a bit of a get together. It was killer hot, but Ben really wanted to climb to the top of some of the temples. Interestingly enough the Guatemalan's weren't very interested in mixing with the tourists. {see 1st photo in last set}

1 comment:

aaron said...

dont ever come home. ok, that sounds a little harsh, but seriously - even little adventures like this one - you just dont get here in denver. i'm so happy that you guys are there and living that life. live it up!!
but we do miss hangin' out with you two - so i guess you should come back here eventually. or maybe we should go there!
also...Krista - thanks so much for providing all that great info for Selena. it was really a huge help!
abrazos a los dos!