Tuesday 15 January 2013
Highlights: Copán Ruins.
Today was a chance to see the last Mayan Ruins for the reminder of my time in Central America. The Mayan empire spread from present day Mexico all the way to Honduras which is an incredible stretch of land for an Empire that started before Christ.
Most of the tour group decided that they had seen enough Ruins so onlyRoman, Rita and myself signed up for the guided tour. Our guide was Marvin (the Martian as he added). Marvin turned out to be an excellent guide being well briefed on not just Mayan history but also other great empires like the Aztecs, Incas, Greeks and Romans.
For example Marvin taught us how the Mayan mathematics used three basic symbols to represent numbers and that 20 (total of fingers and toes) was the key multiplier and then compared this to other systems. I now have a much better understanding of why Mayans were so accurate with their astrological calculations.
The Copán site is the largest Mayan site in Honduras that is easily accessible, there is one larger site but it takes 7 days by mule to travel to. Archaeologists have been restoring the Copán site for over 100 years now and there is still much work to be done. There have found that the last major structures were build over earlier ones and the earlier ones had mummies, the earliest recorded mummies in the world.
It is amazing that the colours still exist on some of the monuments, in particular the reds. The artistic work was probably the most amazing of all the Mayan ruins I have visited in the past month. The site also had a wealth of wild life in particular the colourful birds, still no toucan which is a goal of mine to see one in the wild while in Central America.
One real bonus of this visit was Rita, who has studied Mayan history asking so many fascinating questions to our guide. I felt like I learned a lot from them both so paying for a guide was money well spend.
I then visited the Copán Museum which I found a little underwhelming. The highlight of this visit was walking out at the wrong point and taking an unscheduled visit through the natural forest for about 10 minutes 🙂
During our 7 pm tour briefing we agreed to upgrade transport for tomorrow to Roatan and also to skip the technical stop in Tegucigalpa, which was just for sleeping, and instead go straight onto Granada (Nicaragua) in a 17 hour overnight van trip. We definitely do a lot of kilometres in this tour.