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The pyramids of Mexico are an overwhelming sight when seen for the first time. Rising from the grassy countryside as do the pyramids of Tenochtitlan and set against the brilliant blue sky on the flattened top of Monte Alban or hiding in the jungles of Palenque, they all speak of the rise and fall of their societies, their gods, religion and their customs.
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1. The ruins of Monte Alban, Mexico. The archaeological complex on the mountain top offers great views of the valleys below. Spring makes that Zapotec complex beautiful. The buds swell on the tree branches and flowers grow among the stones of ancient pyramids. Sometimes an iguana sits in the sun but moves away when someone approaches.
2. The pyramid of Magician, Uxmal, Mexico. Built between 600 and 900AD, the pyramid is the main structure in the ruins of the Mayan city of Uxmal.
3. Pyramids of Monte Alban, where men and gods meet, Mexico . This is a photo of another building to explore at the archaeological site of Monte Alban. The Zapotec society that built this magnificent complex began to decline around 800 AD.
4. Temple of the Count, Palenque, Mexico. The pictured Templo del Conde was built in the seventh century AD. During digs archaeologists found three tombs with human remains and offerings of beads, bone objects and shell jewelry. The temple was named after the nineteenth century temple's resident, Count de Waldeck.
5. Iguana, among the ancient stones of Uxmal, Mexico. On a hot mid morning this reptile was seen sunning itself among the Mayan ruins. There were many of them on the site, always attracting the attention and seemingly "posing" for photographs.
6. The Temple of Inscriptions, Palenque, Mexico. Set on the hill with other ruins of Palenque this Mayan temple overlooks a dense jungle. It was named the Temple of Inscriptions because a panel of hieroglyphs with information about the family of King Pacal was found inside. In 1952 the archaeologist Alberto Ruz Lhuller discovered there the royal crypt with the stone sarcophagus and other precious objects. Ruz Lhuller is buried opposite the Temple of Inscriptions.
7. King Pacal, Palenque, Mexico. A tablet with the image of King Pacal was photographed at a small museum in Palenque. Pacal ascended to the Mayan throne in 615AD, and his long reign (67 years) produced some of the finest art and architecture.
8. Temple of the Sun, Palenque, Mexico. This temple and two others that belong to the Group of the Cross, was built in the seventh century by the King Pacal's son. It stands on a raised platform and can be reached by stairs. With a stone roof comb and a shrine inside, it honoured the Jaguar God of the Underworld. The Temple XIV visible at the back was added in AD 697
9. The Palace, Palenque, Mexico. Constructed during the Classic Maya period (250-800AD) the palace was a place of residence for the Palenque rulers. It was also a political and administrative centre of the Mayan capital.
10. Pyramid of the Moon, Teotihuacan, Mexico. The ruins of the mystical city of Teotihuacan are some 50km NE from Mexico City. The city was laid out around the north -south "Street of the Dead". The Pyramid of the Moon stood at the northern point while the huge Pyramid of the Sun marked the southern end. Sources say the Pyramid of the Moon existed at the height of the Teotihuacan civilisation between 450 and 650 AD.
11. Etlingera elatior "Evita's Rose Torch Ginger", Palenque, Mexico. This stunning torch ginger has been spotted in the jungle surrounding the ruins of Palenque.
12. Pyramid of the Sun, Teotihuacan, Mexico. The Pyramid of the Sun stands adjacent to the Avenue of the Dead on its east side. The construction of that massive pyramid probably started about 100AD. It is the third largest after the Great Pyramid of Cholula near Puebla in Mexico and the Pyramid of Cheops on the outskirts of Cairo in Egypt. An awesome sight, it was originally plastered and painted red.
13. The sacred site of Monte Alban, Mexico. The ruins sit on the mountain plateau and offer some great views. Zapotec people started levelling the top of that mountain about 500BC with the aim of building a ceremonial centre. Monte Alban community reached their significance in 300AD. Their various structures such as pyramids, plaza, altars, cemetery and tombs are reminiscent of the architecture of Teotihuacan.
14. The Pyramid of Magician (north view), Uxmal, Mexico. Unique among the Mayan structure, this monumental pyramid has an oval base and rounded corners. Uxmal was first settled in about 600BC and the place reached its promimence during the period between 800-900AD.
15. The Pyramid of Magician, Uxmal, Mexico. Legend says it was built in one night by a dwarf magician who hatched from an egg and reached the maturity in a day. In reality this Mayan pyramid was built between the seventh and the tenth century and contains, like a Russian doll, five earlier structures beneath.
16. Palace of the Masks, Kabah, Mexico. The facade is covered in hundreds of masks representing the rain god Chaac. Many of them have noses like elephant trunks still attached. That repetetive feature makes the facade unique in Mayan style of architecture.
17. The Kukulcan pyramid, Chichen Itza, Mexico. The temple of a feathered serpent god, Kukulcan is a step pyramid with a square terraces going right up to its top. On the spring and autumn equinox, when the sun rises and sets, one of the corners of the temple casts a shadow shaped like the feathered snake. On 21 Dec 2012 that was the site of celebration related to the end of Mayan calendar on winter solstice.
18. A pottery stall in Chichen Itza, Mexico. Countless stalls cater for tourists, selling pottery, masks and figurines made of leather and wood, jewellery, beads, bags and many other items.
19. Human figures at Kabah, Mexico. On the walls of the Palace of Masks survived two male figures, a rarity at any Mayan site. One of the figures is headless, the other has a jaguar mask on its head.
20. The Kukulcan pyramid at Chichen Itza, Mexico. A temple of the feathered serpent god, Kukulcan is a step pyramid with a square terraces going right up to its top. On the spring and autumn equinox, when the sun rises and sets, one of the corners of the temple casts a shadow shaped like the feathered snake.
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