A New Era Starts in Riviera Maya
Riviera Maya is surrounded by a wealth of traditions inherited from a millenary Maya Culture, one of the most complete and influential ancient cultures of the World. The Maya influence remains present in the region today; its archaeology, astronomy, gastronomy, music, traditional medicines and their great respect for nature form the cultural heritage that continues to surprise those who visit the area.
The Riviera Maya holds imposing pre-Hispanic ceremonial sites and commercial cities such as the amazingly beautiful archaeological site named Tulum, which is protected by a wall and constructed on a cliff overlooking the gorgeous Caribbean Sea; and Coba, an impressive commercial city which is an excellent example of the remarkable demographic, social and political development of the Mayas. There are also many smaller noteworthy localities dotting the coast, such as Xaman-Ha and Muyil just to mention a couple.
Tulum, which was originally named Zamá meaning “Sunrise” in the Mayan language, is the best known and the most representative site in the region. This majestic archaeological zone preserves impressive views that inspire visitors to be part of the mysticism that surround them.
There are over 60 structures all perfectly preserved, amongst them “El Castillo” or “The Castle”, the highest landmark at Tulum, whose splendour and unique beauty are framed by the turquoise blue waters of the Caribbean Sea.
The archaeological site of Coba is located west of Tulum and is hidden within the jungle landscape. Its name translates to “murky waters” and it was once one of the biggest and most powerful cities of the northern part of the Yucatan Peninsula during the pre-Hispanic period. Here, the origins to the legendary Maya prophecy can be found, same prophecy that is carved in a well preserved Estela with the date 21 December 2012. This prophecy marks the end of an era after 26,000 years, and the beginning of what will be the rebirth of the senses and the awakening of the human conscience.
For centuries the Mayas have prepared themselves for this specific date. To them, it is a very important moment of reflection, renovation and rebirth as a new cosmic cycle is said to begin.
Xaman-Ha or “waters from the north” is what is known as the Playa del Carmen today. Some of its temples are still present and are located in the middle of the city. They are surrounded by vegetation and easy accessible for tourists. During the ancient Maya period it was the departure place for the Mayas to initiate their pilgrimage to the island of Cozumel, the sanctuary of Ixchel who is the Goddess of fertility for the people. This crossing was made for centuries as it was mandatory for the Mayas that they worship Ixchel in order to ensure that she would favour fertility and ascertain the preservation of their descendents, as well as to ask for favours such as health, water and vegetation for their entire community.
Today this tradition continues thanks to the Sacred Maya Journey, a festival that recreates this ceremony according to the traditions of the ancient population. Following purification ceremonies, the rowers depart with the very first rays of light in their canoes to Cozumel to bring offerings to Ixchel.
The Maya culture is still very present in the people of this destination. There are more than two million Maya descendants living on the Yucatan Peninsula who remain faithful to their culture and their traditions. They live in small communities hidden in the jungle and until recently they were mainly farmers. The children learn the Maya language as their first language, with their second tongue being Spanish.
The impressive Riviera Maya offers numerous activities that allow visitors to enjoy the Caribbean Sea and its marvellous beaches of powdery white sand while indulging in the Maya Culture that beats from the heart of Riviera Maya.
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