Mexico in the Carribbean: Riviera Maya Turkish
The coastline where Mexico meets the Caribbean offers an almost fictitious history and an untouched scenery for its visitors.
Article and photos by Rüçhan Ziya
English summary by Meltem Uluç
Mexico has always been depicted as the land of the sneering outlaws, where the poor wait for the hero to rescue them from their cruel master.
The northern part of the continent is left to the white man who came looking for India, whereas the southern part is where the white man has mellowed under the sun. Starting with Mexico, this area is known for its revolutions, poets and their poetry. You can lie in a hammock under the palm trees by the greenish sea for weeks without getting bored.
Riviera Maya offers the Mayan culture, the Caribbean and Mexico as a package. The Yucatan Peninsula has some important settlements. The first Europeans have arrived looking for gold, then it was the Spanish conquistadors' turn to seek the Mayan riches. Mayas fought for their freedom between the years 1500 and 1900, leaving behind one of the greatest civilizations.
In 1950s, Jacques Cousteau came to Cozumel, where the shrines of goddess Ixchel were and introduced the underwater wonders of the area to the world. By 1970's, increasing tourism activities resulted in hotels, cafes and airports to be built around the area. Cancun became an important tourist attraction.
Further south, lies the Mayan coast, Costa Maya, which is left on its own and forgotten. You can walk for miles on the coast without seeing a sign of human interference, a big contrast to the Cancun beaches, only a few hours away.
The largest coral atoll on the northern hemisphere, Banco Chincorro, is along the Costa Maya coastline. The circular atoll serves as home for many species and has a large number of ship wrecks.
The Maya civilization was losing its grandeur before the Spaniards arrived. Hence the Mayan culture is lost in time, even though the race still exists. Mayas were very much into astronomy, you may remember the Indiana Jones films, where the actual Maya pyramids were filmed, with secret passages that let the light in only on solstices to reveal a drawing.
Mayan counting system is very original and is based on 20 instead of 10. ·, is 1, · · · ·, is4 and __ shows the number 5 . So 8 is written like this: ···
Mayan way of writing was from top to bottom, so, to write 28 on their 20 based system, they wrote 1 and 8 one below the other.
Mayan writing system was researched since 1800's, but was only deciphered after the World War II.
Even though the modern way of life is almost there with all that it entails, the nature is still very beautiful around there. You can swim alongside the pelicans, the shores of most beaches are still used by the turtles to lay their eggs. While you are driving through the forest, you can see iguanas, coatimundis and vultures. There is the Cozumel reef with its corals, turtles and barracudas. The variety is enormous, so you have a lot to choose from.
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