The heart of the Mayan world
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Hello, I am glad to greet you, I am Yael Yancelson and today we will go to the heart of the Mayan culture, arriving in Guatemala, so breathe, close your eyes and let yourself be guided, we begin…
Located on the Central American isthmus, Guatemala is bordered to the west and north by Mexico, to the east by Belize and the Gulf of Honduras, to the southeast by Honduras and El Salvador, and to the south by the Pacific Ocean and its capital is Guatemala City.
We arrive at a multicultural country, whose history has been divided between periods of democratic governments and periods of civil war and military junta. The country emerged from a 36-year war after the signing of peace accords in 1996.
Due to its great diversity, this is an ideal place for many types of travelers, we will visit the ancient Mayan ruins, beautiful colonial cities, lakes surrounded by volcanoes, and markets that offer us rich cuisine.
We arrived in the middle of the jungle at Tikal National Park, declared a World Heritage Site, and is one of the best archaeological sites in the world, they tell us that this site remained hidden by the jungle and abandoned by the Mayans for more than 1000 years until It was discovered in 1848. This important city of the ancient Mayan civilization is made up of a multitude of temples, stelae, and pyramids. Look at the Great Plaza, it seems to me without a doubt that it is the most impressive place in Tikal. This is where you have a vision of the architecture that we can find on this tour. From the front, we see Temple I, or Temple of the Great Jaguar, 47 meters high, built in 700 AD by Ahh Cacao, whose tomb was found inside.
From Temple I, we only have to turn around to be able to enjoy impressive views of Temple II or Temple of the Masks, 38 meters high, also built by Ahh Cacao in 700 AD, in which the carved wooden lintel stands out, which it is believed to represent his wife. The Central Acropolis is an architectural labyrinth of structures, arranged in a series of seven internal courtyards, believed to have been the residence of the nobles at Tikal.
There are several outstanding places to visit in Tikal such as the monumental Great Plaza that is surrounded by tall pyramids and large buildings, the Acropolis, the 57-meter-high Temple V, the Temple of the Jaguar, and Temple IV, the perfect place to see a magnificent sunset over the jungle.
Now we go to Antigua and arrive at the Central Plaza, which is the meeting point for locals and tourists where we can find several colonial buildings such as the Palacio de Los Capitanes Generales, which is currently a cultural center, and look at the background we can enjoy the volcano Acatenango and then we walk to the City Hall Palace and the Cathedral of Santiago.
We also go to the parish of San José where they tell us that the entrance to the building was destroyed by the 1773 earthquake and later restored; entrance to its ruins, where we can visit the main area of the cathedral, Here you will find the sectors of the building that are supported by columns that support the brick arches today with no roof other than the sky. The Convent of Santa Clara also was destroyed by the earthquake and was abandoned by the nuns who lived there. We will see several museums, the Silverware, the Colonial, the Archaeological, the Pre-Columbian Art, the Arts and Crafts and the Pharmacy and from there we go to the Capuchinas Convent where we will walk through the cloister, with a very beautiful fountain in medium, can you appreciate the robust columns that surround it?
Another of the highlights of the visit is a tower in which we can find the cells of 18 nuns, located next to each other in a circular courtyard. Let’s go up the stairs of the Church of La Merced, to photograph one of the best views of Antigua.
Let’s make a stop at Parque Unión, a small lung of the city, where we also find an old laundry room, which is still used today, and we’ll go to one of the symbols of Antigua, the Arco de Santa Catalina, which is the gallery by which the nuns crossed the street so as not to be seen. Without a doubt, this area is one of the liveliest in the city, where we can find restaurants and cafes, and buy little souvenirs in its shops.
Moving away a little and entering thick forests, we arrive at Semuc Champey Natural Park, famous for the natural pools of turquoise green waters produced by the waterfalls of the river that crosses it. I think it is the most beautiful place in Guatemala!!!
What do you think if we rent a boat and go to Lake Atitlán, located more than 1500 meters above sea level and surrounded by the volcanoes of Atitlán, Tolimán, and San Pedro volcano? On the shore of this beautiful lake, we will meet with several towns that maintain the Mayan culture and tradition, which are also highly recommended places to relax and unwind thanks to its many meditations, yoga, and massage centers.
Located in the middle of the jungle and on the shores of the lagoon, north of Petén, we arrive at the Yaxhá archaeological site, it is one of the lesser-known Mayan jewels and another of the places to visit in Guatemala, with large buildings and pyramids, wow this impressive, right? Some of its most interesting places are the Ball Court, the Calzada de las Canteras, the Great Astronomical Complex or Plaza F, the spectacular plaza of the North Acropolis, and the most important structure, the Temple of the Red Hands.
And with so much travel, you’re already a little hungry, don’t you think? Let’s go to the Chichicastenango Market, where the senses are heightened to the maximum through hundreds of smells, colors, and flavors. We get lost in its endless alleys in which we will find anything we are looking for or imagine and there really is all!! from the most classic souvenirs to paintings, wood carvings, and precious fabrics that will leave you enchanted with their striking colors and of course a huge gastronomic section where we will buy some ingredients for cooking.
If you like to cook, I think it’s time to prepare our ingredients to go to the kitchen and make a typical pepian, click on the button or if you prefer, keep traveling.
And that is how we leave this beautiful and interesting region of the planet with the desire to return. We will travel every week to another corner of this wonderful world, to discover, enjoy and fly with the imagination, I wait for you every Friday and I ask you if you like to share the content with your friends and give me a like and a review of your comments because with that you help me a lot to raise the ranking of this podcast, ALTERNATIVE REALITY A UNIQUE AND DIFFERENT SPACE THAT CREATES COMMUNITY I found that the Pedro Poveda Foundation has the purpose of development, comprehensive training, and human promotion, especially of people with limited economic resources in Guatemala, through programs and projects in the field of formal and informal education. If you are interested in learning more, go to: www.fundacionpedropoveda.org
We make a difference. And as I always tell you when helping others, we mainly help ourselves. See you next week and thanks for traveling with me.
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I want to thank Fabiola Ruiz Bedolla, our Mexican Sign Language interpreter, and her entire team of collaborators, as well as a very special thanks to Mercedes Obregón, director of the Pedagogical Institute for Language Problems, IPPLIAP. Thank you for joining this project and all of you for making it possible!
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This proyect is born from the intention of helping and creating comunity in different causes and institutions.
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