Tulum Ruins- Top Attraction in Riviera Maya

Tulum Ruins- Top Attraction in Riviera Maya

Tulum Archaeological Site

Tulum, Mexico is located in the Riviera Maya, 130km/86 miles south of Cancun, a secluded beach destination that nestles the Tulum archaeological site; a relatively small Mayan site, but one of the top attractions in Riviera Maya due to the fascinating combination of pristine beach, Mayan ruins, and a picturesque relaxed town.

Tulum Mayan ruins are located on a 12-meter (39 ft) cliff which has a wonderful view to the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea.  

Tulum in Maya means “Wall”, which resembles the history of this walled city that served as a major port for Coba, where the walls surrounding the site protecting Tulum ruins against invasion.  Research suggests that this Maya site was once called by the name Zama, meaning “city of Dawn”, which relates to the fact that Tulum, Riviera Maya  is one of the places were dawn first breaks in Mexico.

Tulum was first mentioned by Juan Diaz, who was part of the expedition of Juan de Grijalva who sailed along the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in 1518, but the first detailed description of the Mayan ruins was published by John Llyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood in 1943 in the book Incidents of Travel in Yucatan.

These explorers first visited Tulum Mayan ruins in the mid-19th century a.d, being greatly impressed by the tall building that is known as El Castillo, and made accurate maps of the wall and Tulum ruins. The works were continued with Sylvanus Moreley and George P. Howe in 1913 and by other researchers throughout the late 70´s.

Tulum ruins belong to the archaeological site that was occupied by the Maya civilization during the late post classic period around 1,200 A.D and continued to be occupied until they had contact with the Spaniards in the early 16th century, later to be completely abandoned by the end of the 16th century.

Tulum, in the Riviera Maya, Mexico used to be the major Maya trading port, since both maritime and land routes converged here. Everyday life evolved politics, religious rituals, art, and astronomical observations. The Tulum Mayan ruins that are appreciated today, used to be the ceremonial and political centers of those time.

El Castillo also known as the light house is the tallest and the most famous of Tulum´s Mayan ruins. It stands on a cliff taking over the ocean sights in all directions. It took several stages to build it and the upper rooms have a feathered serpent carved.

Another interesting building of Tulum ruins is the Temple of Frescoes, which features a sculpted descending figure that represents a deity. The Temple of Frescoes in Tulum´s archaeological site conserves most of its decorative elements. It stands in the middle of the walled area on the east west axis.

The Kukulcan group is located north of El Castillo and is formed by several minor structures. Being the most outstanding the Wind God Temple traditionally related to Kukulcan, the God of the Wind also known as feathered serpent god. 

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