In the Fall of 2014 the State of North Dakota opened aan expanded Heritage Center consisting of four galleries: Adaptation showing geologic time; Innovation showing Early Peoples; Inspiration showing Yesterday and Today in ND; and the Governor's Gallery showing Rural Electric Development in ND.
The last set of photographs starting on page 16 with the Green Evolution is the latest display in the Governor's Gallery.
The stepped pyramids, temples, columned arcades, and other stone structures of Chichén Itzá were sacred to the Maya and a sophisticated urban center of their empire from A.D. 750 to 1200.
Viewed as a whole, the incredible complex reveals much about the Maya and Toltec vision of the universe—which was intimately tied to what was visible in the dark night skies of the Yucatán Peninsula.
The most recognizable structure here is the Temple of Kukulkan, also known as El Castillo. This glorious step pyramid demonstrates the accuracy and importance of Maya astronomy—and the heavy influence of the Toltecs, who invaded around 1000 and precipitated a merger of the two cultural traditions.
The temple has 365 steps—one for each day of the year. Each of the temple’s four sides has 91 steps, and the top platform makes the 365th.
Devising a 365-day calendar was just one feat of Maya science. Incredibly, twice a year on the spring and autumn equinoxes, a shadow falls on the pyramid in the shape of a serpent. As the sun sets, this shadowy snake descends the steps to eventually join a stone serpent head at the base of the great staircase up the pyramid’s side.
The Maya’s astronomical skills were so advanced they could even predict solar eclipses, and an impressive and sophisticated observatory structure remains on the site today.
This great city’s only permanent water source was a series of sinkhole wells. Spanish records report that young female victims were thrown into the largest of these, live, as sacrifices to the Maya rain god thought to live in its depths. Archaeologists have since found their bones, as well as the jewelry and other precious objects they wore in their final hours.
Chichén Itzá's ball court is the largest known in the Americas, measuring 554 feet (168 meters) long and 231 feet (70 meters) wide. During ritual games here, players tried to hit a 12-pound (5.4-kilogram) rubber ball through stone scoring hoops set high on the court walls. Competition must have been fierce indeed—losers were put to death.
Chichén Itzá was more than a religious and ceremonial site. It was also a sophisticated urban center and hub of regional trade. But after centuries of prosperity and absorbing influxes of other cultures like the Toltecs, the city met a mysterious end.
During the 1400s people abandoned Chichén Itzá to the jungle. Though they left behind amazing works of architecture and art, the city’s inhabitants left no known record of why they abandoned their homes. Scientists speculate that droughts, exhausted soils, and royal quests for conquest and treasure may have contributed to Chichén Itzá's downfall.
Recently this World Heritage site was accorded another honor. In a worldwide vote Chichén Itzá was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
This Mayan city existed between 800 AD and 1500 AD and was first discovered/conquered in the 16th century by the Spaniards. It is the ONLY Mayan city known to exist on the seashore.
It is known for its military frescos and unique buildings, this mysterious city was a major port-of-call on the Mayan maritime trade routes.
Rural ilfe in Mexico is usually a life living in poverty. It is measured under parameters such as nutrition, clean water, shelter, education, health care, social security, quality and basic services in the household, income and social cohesion as defined by social development laws in the country. It is divided in two categories: Moderate poverty and Extreme poverty.
While less than 2% of Mexico's population lives below the international poverty line set by the World Bank, as of 2013, Mexico's government estimates that 33% of Mexico's population lives in moderate poverty and 9% lives in extreme poverty, which leads to 42% of Mexico's total population living below the national poverty line
Ik Kil is a well known cenote outside Pisté in the Municipality of Tinúm, Yucatán, Mexico. It is located in the northern center of the Yucatán Peninsula and is part of the Ik Kil Archeological Park near Chichen Itza. It is open to the public for swimming and is often included in bus tours.
The cenote is open to the sky with the water level about 26 metres (85 ft) below ground level. There is a carved stairway down to a swimming platform. The cenote is about 60 metres (200 ft) in diameter and about 40 metres (130 ft) deep.
There are vines which reach from the opening all the way down to the water along with small waterfalls. There are black catfish which swim in the cenote. Cenote Ik Kil is sacred to the Mayans and the Mayans used this cenote for both relaxation and ritual services.
The cenote is part of a larger complex of a restaurant, store, changing rooms, and cottages for rent. There is also a Mayan ruin on the site.
The Museo sits on an actual archaeological site called San Miguelito. It was inhabited by Mayans more than 800 years ago and up until the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores in the 16th Century. It’s location on the coast of the Caribbean made it an ideal trading center. Today, ruins spread out over 1,000 square meters and laced with shaded walking paths. It’s so extensive you don’t have to leave your resort to enjoy these historical relics.
Along the paths you can learn not only about the Mayan culture, but also about the plants and animals indigenous to the area centuries ago. The museum itself is home to more than 300 Mayan artifacts, many of which are presented in an interactive way. The museum is relatively new, having opened in 2012, we only wished more descriptions were available in English.
Cancún is a coastal city in the popular vacation destination called The Mexican Caribbean, more officially known as the state of Quintana Roo, on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. The word Cancun means pot of gold snakes.
Peak season in Cancun tends to run from December to April. Prices in both airfare and hotel increase dramatically during these times, while dropping in the summer and early autumn months.
I traveled in July with my Sister Gail and her husband Paul along California Highway 1 from north of Los Angeles to north of San Francisco. Paul was kind enough to act as chauffeur and guide for this trip. It was a marvelous experience involving great conversation, great food and amazing photography. Enjoy!