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PENINSULA YUCATAN

 

>> Tulum

 

 

Tulum is site of a pre-Columbian Maya walled city, serving as a major port for Coba. The ruins are located on 12-meter cliffs, along the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula on the Caribbean Sea. This is one of the best-preserved coastal Maya sites and today it is a popular site for tourists. The Maya site may have been formerly also known by the name Zama, meaning city of Dawn. Tulum is also the Mayan word for fence or wall, and the walls surrounding the site allowed the Tulum fort to serve as a defense against invasion. The city was first mentioned by Juan Diaz in 1518. Tulum has architecture typical of Maya sites, what is recognized by a step running around the base of the building which sits on a low substructure. Doorways of this type are usually narrow with columns used as support if the building is big enough.  As the walls flare out there are usually two sets of molding near the top. The room usually contains one or two small windows with an altar at the back wall, roofed by either a beam-and-rubble ceiling or being vaulted. Tulum was protected on one side by steep sea cliffs and on the landward side by a wall that averaged about three to five meters in height. The wall also was about 8 meters thick and 400 meters long on the side parallel to the sea. On the southwest and northwest corners there are small structures that have been identified as watch towers. There are five narrow gateways in the wall with two each on the north and south sides and one on the west. Near the northern side of the wall a small cenote would have provided the city with fresh water. It is this impressive wall that makes Tulum one of the most well-known fortified sites of the Maya. Among some of the more spectacular buildings at the site is the Temple of the Frescoes that included a lower gallery and a smaller second story gallery. Also in the central precinct is the Castillo, which is 7.5 meters tall. The archaeological site is relatively compact and is one of the best-preserved coastal Maya sites. Its proximity to the modern tourism development along the Mexican Caribbean coastline has made it a popular destination for tourists.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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