Sunday, January 20, 2013

Photo-of-the-Week #90 - Meet Iggy, the Temple Guard Lizard, Tulum, Mexico, September 2003

This is Iggy the Iguana, one of a herd, er - a pack, a flock - well, a bunch of iguanas that live in and on the ruins of Tulum, the Mayan city near Cozumel and Cancun on the Yucatan Peninsula. Tulum had at least two temples, a palace and a castle like fortress. So, there is plenty for Iggy and his friends to guard.

The city was at its peak between the 13th and 15th centuries and had a population estimated at between 1,200 and 1,600 people. Unfortunately, the invading Spaniards brought Old World diseases with the, like small pox, that ultimately wiped out the indigenous, Mayan population. The walled city sits high on a bluff, probably 40 to 60 feet overlooking a beautiful white sand beach and the aqua colored Caribbean Sea. The city ruins are one of Mexico's national parks and the beach is now a protected nesting place for sea turtles.

Tulum may not be as large or famous as the ancient Inca ruins at Machu Picchu in Peru, but it most certainly is a beautiful and historic site to visit. Hopefully, it will be there for a long time in the future with Iggy and his friends standing guard. Unfortunately, it's another testimony of the demise of a city and its culture due to the not so glorious legacy of invasion and conquest of  the New World by the Europeans. 

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