Ruins are so fascinating on so many levels. It’s crazy to see the skeleton of some great city that was present hundreds of years ago, and to see how it’s still present but evolved into some cultural attraction, now clustered with groups of people from random countries led by people speaking their respective languages. I’ve definitely seen pictures of these ancient places in the context of tour books or old high school Spanish teachers showing the class some mass-produced, glossed posters with all of that educational banter and bright colors printed on the sides.
While I was in Mexico this winter, I went to Teotihuacan (above), which is located a little outside of present-day Mexico City. Mexico City is one of the most intense cities in the world, with so much development and so many humans everywhere, so it’s very special that this greater area dates back to such ancient times. Prior to my trip, I learned that Teotihuacan’s pyramids and structures all used to be covered by red paint with intricate characters and symbols inscribed all over the rocks. When you climb the pyramids, they have conveniently placed railing and ropes for your assistance, and when you get up there, it’s insanely windy.
I also went to Palenque, which is in Chiapas, in Southern Mexico. It was in the middle of the jungle, so it was crazy hearing beasts in the wilderness roaring and seeing Toucans fly by in the hot, humid settings. Both Palenque and Teotihuacan were very symmetrical, which surprised me. It’s strange trying to imagine a bustling city or village going on around with these structures as a base.