Xpujil in Campeche
Xpujil Campeche. In this magical area of Campeche (the state which borders Quintana Roo) are found numerous archeological sites to discover.
As the animation to the left demonstrates, CancunSteve arrives from the (relative) hustle and bustle of Cancun to this place of power and inner calm. One feels centered. In any guide book you may read about when certain ruins were built; formative period; post-classical; how high the pyramid measures in feet or meters and a lot of other exoteric stuff. What interest me is the esoteric aspect. Why did the Mayans select these places to build? And not somewhere else? For one thing the power places we will meet here were built upon natural quartz rock which you will find while exploring these magnificent places.

The entrance at Chicanna, CampecheSeen to the left is the detailed entrance to Chicanna, Campeche just a few miles west of Xpujil. IF you stay in Xpujil there are numerous archeological zones to explore: Xpujil itself; Chicanna a few miles to the west; Becan which lies near Chicanna; Hormiguero to the south of Becan; Rio Bec to the south of Xpujil; and numerous others. My favorites were Xpujil itself which holds a lot of energy for those attuned to receive it and Kohunich (before the Campeche border within Quintana Roo) built upon quartz crystal. That quartz magnifies energy is well known. You can build a radio with quartz and capture radio signals without the use of batteries or electricity. Was Chicanna late classical? Post-formative? Progressive-conservative? Late pre-classic? Early post-classic? You're asking me? During the time Chicanna was built (300BC to 250BC) the Mayan calendar was born using the 52 year count. This round calendar had it's disadvantages. When events took place over a period exceeding 52 years much confusion arose. The first month in the round calender was Pop; the second was Ho; the third was Zip; the fourth was Putz. The Mayan new year started with 1 Pop. The Mayans developed the long count with larger cycles soon after Chicanna was built. About this calendar; the Mayan calendar is most outstanding. It is the most accurate calendar the world has ever known and was in use centuries before the birth of Christ. It dealt with the problem of leap year as well. As a matter of fact the Mayan calendar caused Pope Gregory XIII to abandon the Julian calendar and introduce the Gregorian calendar in 1582. So the Christian world has an accurate calendar for only 400 years or so.
At the time of early occupation society was divided into several classes. With the upper classes living in the best dwellings. The Mayans stored rain water at the site as even in those days you could never find a plumber on a Saturday or 1 Pop. In the facade shown above the God Itzmana is shown looking like a giant face with gaping jaws. In their art the Mayans were not interested in three-dimensionality. Their art is essentially a flat, narrative, baroque affair very involved with the ornament and grotesque.
In facades at Rio Bec and Hormiguero many sky serpent masks may be seen as this was an important Mayan God.

Esperanza in the Felipe Carrillo Puerto Plaza near the old church

Soon we'll go back to the ruins but first let's talk about getting down to this area from Cancun. Many are thinking how are the roads. The roads from Cancun right through to Xpujil are superb. You may wish to spend the first night in Felipe Carrillo Puerto which is about half-way. The Catholic Church in this town is shown to the right. There is also a Mayan Church called La Cruz Parlant. The mass does not adhere to the Christian Bible per se but often worships various Mayan deities in a mixture of cultures with the mass given in Mayan by the Mayan priests who have the ability to invoke these Gods of their ancestors. When you visit the Cruz Parlant which is only a few blocks from the town plaza you will be asked to take your shoes off before entering the church. The Mayan priests were old men laying around in hammocks when I arrived. They were very hospitable and showed me the church but no one knew who had the key to unlock the museum within the complex.
The Yucatan Maya launched a major uprising starting in July 1847 called the Caste War. And the Cruz Parlant figured prominently in this war. After years of opression the Mayans attacked key Spanish positions with howitzers; Winchesters; fly swatters. The Spanish were distracted by the war between the US and Mexico and nearly lost the peninsula. The Maya attacked Spanish villages armed by English settlers from Belize and with guns distributed to defend Yucatan's secession in 1846. They regained 90% of their lands and held all of the Yucatan except Campeche and Merida. At the height of their revolutionary success, the Maya inexplicably withdrew to their villages - reputedly to plant corn for the season. The call of the land was stronger than the call for victory. The war with the US ended in 1848 and reinforcements were sent to the Yucatan, where they drove the Maya back to Chan Santa Cruz. The Maya resisted for several years, but disease and weapons shortages forced them to surrender in 1901.

One of the restaurants in the town serves deer meet which is very tasty. Several hotels offer clean economic lodgings ranging from $20USD a night.
On the main street you can also find an internet cafe if you need to check your e-mail. On Saturday nights the town hosts a dance with live music and after the movies everyone goes off to the dance held outside complete with strobe lights under the Quintana Roo sky.

If you're planning to come to Cancun for a long weekend then obviously this side trip isn't for you. We do not mean to suggest an extended stay in Felipe Carrillo Puerto but spending the night while heading for the archeological wonders which aren't as commercial as Tulum and Chichen Itza is charming and the locals are good people.

facial fresco at Kohunich, Quintana RooNow we jump from Campeche to which we'll soon return to Kohunich within the state of Quintana Roo. Between Kohunich and the Campeche border is the ugly town of Nicolas Bravo. This town has no hotels per se but locals rent rooms for ten dollars a night with no bathroom but there's a hole in the floor somewhere in the hall.
Some rooms may be available with private baths but don't count on either room service; turn down service; or data port hook-ups in this town voted the ugliest in the country by Traveski the widely read Bulgarian Travel Digest.

The fresco to the left is in an excellent state of preservation. While walking around this area if you take the time to examine the rocks on the path you will notice they are quartz crystal (as the rocks are not in a polished state you may not recognize them). One of the local Cancun metaphysical schools suggests the Mayans built in certain locations in the Yucatan to simulate the chakras in the human body (the psychic centers). With the one corresponding to the pineal gland being Kohunich.

The Mayans were masters of the stela art form and stone relief as well. I don't know who the face represents.
But did learn certain codices found in the center of the country dating back to the time of Montezuma displayed taxes due for a town; when a town was conquered the amount of taxes it had to pay, for example two pigs and one chicken for Teaneck New Jersey; then these amounts were posted in a public place for all to see. Then the town either got together to come up with the imposition or do-in the tax collectors. Tax payers were taxed corn; beans; pigs; and small circles painted black or red indicated quantities (how much). Through symbols tax payers were informed how much to pay and when. The stalk of the flour plant represented the number 400.

Xpujil archeological site CampecheThe Mayan writing found here in Xpujil, Campeche was to be read in double columns from left to right and top to bottom. The Mayan mathematics system was the most advanced in the world at that time. (use links below to learn more about the Mayans and about great places to stay while in the Yucatan and Quintana Roo). The Mayans were the first to conceive of the zero. Think about it. How would you perform one minus one in Roman Numerals? I - I equals ??????? There's no zero folks. Neither was there anything like our decimal system or by moving a place over the number increments by a multiple. The Mayans had all this in their mathematical system of only three symbols: the dash; dot; shell.
Here in Xpujil we see the elaborate facades with sky serpent masks. The three towers served no other function other than decoration. Felipe's secretary was like that once upon a time.

Take a break. Sit down in the area and have a drink of water and let the vibrations of the place flow through you. The famous artist Tatiana Proskouriakoff created a reconstruction of how these towers must have looked way back when (I've seen a reproduction of this work) but between you and me I don't know what she was smoking.
What is important is this: this structure is perfectly aligned north to south. And the front of the facade aligned perfectly east the direction most important for the Mayans. Remember these people did not have the aid of the compass back then. Architects today care little about the orientation of a structure when they erect it.
close-up of Xpujil templeIn this close up of the temples I'd like to point out the curved stones the master Mayan builders made to create the curved columns shown. And when you're there take the time to see how well the stones fit into place.
Yes the Mayan builders demonstrate the difference between the brick layer and master mason.
Unlike the Greeks of the Homeric age the Mayans knew the Evening star and Morning star were one and the same. They understood this to be a planet (Venus) which circled the sun like the earth. They figured the cycle for Venus' revolution around the sun at 584 days. It is actually 583.92.

Although Xpujil may be visited in one hour figure two hours or more for the more extensive Kohunich.
Xpujil has lovely hotels to spend the night with good economical restaurants.

Beach rentals in Playa del Carmen   Condo/hotel Playa del Carmen rentals   Cozumel on best snorkeling beach
Bed and breakfast in Merida   Isla Mujeres information    Rent a car with us
Learn more about the Mayan mathematical system and their culture    The mystical aspect of the Mayan archeological sites
The Mayan life cycle   Things to see in the Merida area    Chakras in the body

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