Living in MesoAmerica has given us many opportunities to visit ruins - and yet I never really get bored from trying to decipher how the Mayans lived and what the ruin sight would have looked like back in its prime. While Rick was visiting, we decided to visit Iximche, which is actually really close to where we live - if we didn't live in a mountain range. It took a few hours, and chicken bus transfers to finally get there, but since Tikal is a million miles away, we figured a few hours on a bus wouldn't be too bad.
At this sight, we were so intrigued with how much information they actually knew. Of course, there was a huge lack of information as well, but the conquistadors actually lived at this sight - so they had some cool information gathered from them. Like the location of the sacrificial altars, and where the royalty and rich lived (it was in this place the the Spaniards actually made their dwellings).
It was crazy to see what could happen in just a few years. This was a place that was built not long before the conquest, and inhabited during the conquest - yet there are now trees growing out of the temples and so much damage - I guess that is why they are called ruins. :)
At the sight there is also a Mayan prayer/ceremony area. We didn't really get to explore it very much because there was a group of people (we're thinking Peace Corps volunteers, since there was a PC van at the sight) partaking in a ritual. We figured it would be rude to interrupt, so we just stared at them as we walked past.
At the sight there are also a few murals, and the museum/signs spoke a lot about the culture, including the working class, artisans, and people from other villages that traded with this particular group. I also learned that when the Aztecs fell to the Spanish, a messenger was sent ahead to the people at Iximche to warn them and recommended that they form an alliance with the Spanish. Unfortunately, small pox wiped out most of the population before the Spanish were able to discover the area. Pretty interesting, isn't it?