A Word a Week Challenge: Old

This week, Sue’s challenge is ‘Old’, and she has some great photos for the theme. This started me thinking about some of the really old places I’ve visited, and things I’ve seen. Of course, as you may have noticed, my background photo is of Machu Picchu, the last stronghold of the Incas. Here is another view of this magnificent wonder of the world.

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This ancient religious site, dates back to the 15th century, and the stonework is a great example of the use of natural raw materials, which were used to provide outstanding architecture, totally appropriate to the surrounding environment. One gets such a sense of awe whilst wandering around this indescribably beautiful place.

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An even older structure, is the Great Wall of China, one of the greatest wonders of the world. The construction of the wall started over 2,000 years ago, and the entire wall with all its branches has been found to measure 21,196 km.

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Another World Heritage site, is the Maya pyramid temple of Kukuikan, also know as El Castillo. This step pyramid found at Chichen Itza, dates back to 750AD and demonstrates the accuracy and importance of Maya astronomy. It has 365 steps, one for each day of the year. Each of the temple’s four sides has 91 steps, and the top platform makes the 365th.

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Another man-made construction of a quite different kind, is the Harrods building in Knightsbridge London. Of course it’s not quite as old as the previous two tourist attractions, only dating back to the mid 19th century, but it’s one of the world’s most famous stores. It covers a 5 acre site, and there are 90,000 sq.metres of selling space, spread over seven floors. This iconic landmark has over fifteen million visitors a year, and lives up to its motto, which is ” Omnia Omnibus Ubique.” (All Things for All People, Everywhere.)

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Now if you want something really old, you could go to the American Museum of Natural History, and there you will see the massive jaw of a Megalodon, the biggest prehistoric shark that ever terrorised the seas. It became extinct 1,5 million years ago, although there have been reported sightings even as recently as 1960. However, fishermen have been known to exaggerate on occasion, so maybe we shouldn’t be too worried. :)

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Dinosaurs first appeared 230 million years ago and have been extinct for about 66 million years, so I guess that their remains would definitely qualify as old.

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One of my dearest friends told me that her 5½-year-old granddaughter asked her, “How old is Great Grandpa?” and when she replied, “He’ll be 94 this year,” Taryn digested this news for a few seconds, and then said, “Gee, that’s super old. Isn’t that when dinosaurs were on the earth?” Well hubby’s beautiful mom is going to be a hundred years old this August, and she has never once mentioned seeing dinosaurs when she was a child. :) Just in case you’re wondering; yes that is all her own hair. :)

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my old post, and had a few smiles too. You can see Sue’s wonderful old pics, if you click here.

Visit to awesome Chichén Itzá, Cancun.

In 2007, we visited Cancun on the Yucatan Peninsula. This holiday holds many happy memories, and I was looking through the photos yesterday. We stayed at the Club Med resort, and much of the holiday was spent relaxing like this,

but we did go out to do a bit of exploring too. Our day trip to the Mayan ruins at Chichén Itzá, was really awesome, and something which I’ll never forget.

The Maya who settled in Chichén (Spanish for ‘the mouth of the well’), around 550AD, are credited with an advanced and brilliant knowledge of astronomy, The most famous structure which is believed to have been built before 800 AD, is the Temple of Kulkulkan, renamed ‘El Castillo’ by the Spanish. This seventy-eight hundred foot tall pyramid, is actually a solar calendar with which the Maya worked out exactly when to plant their crops. There are ninety-one steps on each side, and another step up to the roof altar, and every day, the shadows fall upon a different step.

Another of the main attractions, is ‘El Caracol’ (conch shell, or snail). This is a giant observatory dome where many rituals and celebrations were performed. The dome has numerous windows, and stars can be seen through different windows on specific days of the year. This structure is quite a wonder of both astronomy and engineering, because as you can imagine, creating a stone dome with windows at such accurately precise points, must have taken an enormous amount of time and skill.

Here is the entrance to the ‘Great Ball Court’, and the building in which the dignitaries would most probably sit to watch the games.

There are many ball courts in Mexico, as they were an important part of every Mayan city, and were designed much like today’s soccer pitches. Raised stone hoops, 23 feet above the ground, were placed at each end, and the Maya would play a game which was a sort of cross between soccer and basketball.

They used a small, hard rubber ball, and the players had to keep the ball in the air, using any part of their bodies, except for hands, feet and calves, the aim being to get the ball through the stone hoops. This was an extremely brutal blood sport and they played to the death. Legend has it that the captain of the winning team, presented his head to the losing captain, who then decapitated him. While this may seem a strange reward, the Maya believed this to be the ultimate honour. The winning captain was getting a direct ticket to heaven instead of having to go through the thirteen steps that the Maya believed they had to go through in order to reach Paradise. I don’t know how true this is, but if were me, I’d make sure I was on the losing side. Wink That wouldn’t work either though, as I also read that the losing team was sacrificed to the gods. So either way, you couldn’t win. Undecided

To the north-east of the pyramid, is the ‘Templo de los Guerreros’, the temple of the warriors complex, which consists of a large stepped pyramid fronted and flanked by rows of carved columns depicting warriors.


There are a thousand of these columns, and I couldn’t resist putting this photo in, because it’s not every day that a person gets to play hide and seek around Mayan ruins, is it? Laughing

It was a wonderful visit, as there was so much to see, and although I have dozens of photos,  I’ve only shared a few of the more interesting ones with you. I hope you enjoyed looking at them.
Have a great weekend, everyone. Chat again soon.