Most experts agree that Tulum was founded as early as approximately 500AD. The Loco Gringo website states that archeologists date inscriptions at the site back to 564AD. The ancient Mayan city enjoyed its peak from 1200AD to 1521AD. Interestingly, Tulum thrived long after the Mayan civilization had already started to decline. Although other Mayan cities began to decline as early as 900AD, Tulum hung on as a vibrant seaport.
The arrival of Spanish conquistadors in the New World signaled the slow collapse of Mayan society. Because it is located right on the ocean, Tulum was vulnerable to attack from outsiders. Spanish invaders didn’t have to navigate the unfamiliar and treacherous jungles. Instead, they simply sailed up to the city’s walls and gained entry directly from the beach. History website, Native American Roots, notes that the Spaniards first discovered the city in 1518. By the beginning of the 1600s, the Mayans had completely abandoned the site.
The most visible sign of Tulum’s ancient importance is its fortified wall. According to the Native American Roots website, the wall was 16 feet high at its tallest point. It was also 26 feet thick, which was an impressive achievement for a society with relatively primitive construction techniques and tools. In modern times, the wall remains mostly intact. Visitors to Tulum can still see the wall, along with its watchtowers and gateways.
Other Major Structures
Considering its age, Tulum remains well preserved. The city’s ruins feature many temples and public spaces. One of the most impressive buildings is the Temple of the Descending God, which depicts a Mayan deity diving into the ocean. It is situated in the central portion of the city. The Castillo, or castle, is Tulum’s tallest building. Visitors must climb a steep set of stone steps to reach its peak.
As the only major Mayan city built on the ocean’s shore, Tulum offers spectacular scenery. Visitors can access the beach directly from the ruins. Backed by sheer limestone cliffs, the beach offers an inviting expanse of golden sand. The water is typically calm and perfect for swimming. Area companies also offer a variety of activities, including snorkeling and parasailing.
Like most Mayan cities, Tulum was a direct casualty of the Spanish invasion. Over a short period of time, war and disease decimated the Mayan civilization. Although most contemporary Mexican residents boast a mix of Spanish and native heritage, there are still a few individuals who can trace their ancestry back to mostly Mayan ancestors. Many of these native people work in and around Tulum as part of the tourism industry, selling authentic Mayan arts and crafts.
The Piramids of Giza 20 km southwest of central Cairo, Egypt.
When one thinks of Egypt it is hard to do so without seeing the pyramids of Giza in the mind’s eye. These piles of limestone or mud brick are the oldest known man made structures on our planet and have actually survived longer in the period known as BCE. than they have in CE. Since the dawn of recorded history they have been an enigma, and this continues through to the present day, with more books and papers being written about them than any of the other ancient monuments in Egypt. Library shelves, throughout the world, are full of the various theories about how they were built, why they were built, and why they are located in certain places; and the full gambit of writing is used in these theories; from the well researched and referenced volumes, to the ones which, quite frankly, deserve to be in either the science-fiction sections or the children’s ones.