I’ve finally got myself sorted out, and sat down to sort through my pics of the ancient city of Lamanai which dates back to 700BC. The only way to get there is by river, and those of you who read about my speedy and thrilling trip down the New River, will remember that I broke off my story just as we arrived.
Before our one hour hike through the jungle, we were given an opportunity to look around the museum. Our guide was very pleased to point out a photo of a carving fashioned from a human leg bone. The Maya also made flutes this way.
This figurine from 1500-1640 AD, portrays a man emerging from the mouth of a crocodile.
If I could have chosen one artifact to take home as a souvenir, it would have been this ancient incense burner, but the curator didn’t offer me even one small memento. Surely they wouldn’t have minded my taking this badly damaged bit of pottery off their hands. 🙂
We saw many wondrous plant and trees along the way, such as the Allspice tree, which surprised me. I always thought that the ground Allspice I have in my pantry, was a mixture of lots of different spices, but it actually come from the bark of a tree. Then there was this monstrous Strangler Fig tree, so-called because they grow on host trees, often strangling them to death.
This one made me laugh. The fruit grows in pairs, and it’s called the ‘Horse Balls’ tree, for obvious reasons. 🙂
Our guide explained how many of the jungle plants were used for medicinal purposes by the Maya. No fancy priced pharmacies for them, but the average life span was only forty years, so maybe we are better off today.
The path through the jungle was quite uneven, with roots, branches and rocks sticking up, so we had to watch our step, which isn’t ideal for a blogger who is trying to make notes. 🙂
Here is the ‘Mask Temple’ dating back to 200 BC, the smallest of the three excavated temples. It has a 13 ft limestone block mask of a man in a crocodile headdress, on the west side, and a similar one on the other side.
Hubby was up those steps in no time at all, but I stayed on the ground to get the pic. That was my excuse anyway. 🙂
The next was the 108 ft ‘High Temple’, from 100 BC, and there is hubby right at the top again. This temple, the highest point in Lamanai, was dedicated to the rain god, and was used as an observatory.
From the top you get a panoramic view of the whole jungle, and the river too.
At the Ball Court, where the Maya played a game in which some archaeologists believe players tried to keep the ball in play by using only their hips, knees, waist, and elbows,
was this large round stone, which is thought to have been a sacrificial altar. It was found to be hollow, and inside were discovered three ceramic vessels containing 100 g of crystalline hematite, 19 g of cinnabar and other objects such as jade, shell, and pearl, all atop of a pool of mercury. These symbolised all the forces, and were gifts to the gods.
Stele 9 was dedicated to ‘Lord Smoking Shells’, and the base was found to contain the remains of five children between the ages of five and nine years. The pillar in the centre is a replica of the original, which has been removed to the museum, and is inscribed with hieroglyphics which are thought to commemorate either the accession or death of an important Mayan ruler.
The Jaguar temple, dating back to 625 AD, was the only building still in use at the time when the Spaniards arrived, and not to be outdone, I did go up as far as was possible, until the steps ran out.
We saw comical black Howler Monkeys doing acrobatics in the trees, and heard their very distinctive growl. They were regarded as sacred, and in Maya codices, scribes were often shown as monkeys.
The Royal Complex, excavated in 2005, is believed to have been the residence of up to two dozen elite Lamanai citizens.
After a tasty picnic lunch, we were treated to an even faster and scarier speedboat ride back up the river. Carlos certainly didn’t ‘spare the horses’, and neither did the van driver who had to get us back Tower Hill in order to catch the only plane back to San Pedro that day. We waved to the water buffalo as we sped past,
and were just had time to see the sugarcane truck driving along the dusty road on its way to the refinery,
before our plane arrived and we were on our way.
What an amazing day we had.
This post is in response to both Ailsa’s Travel Theme ‘Up’ and the Weekly Photo Challenge, ‘Beyond’.
To see more entries for these two challenges, just click on the links.
What a beautiful place. I do not understand those curators – watching over broken things like that. Their lives would be a lot easier if they just give away all of the broken stuff, no? 😉
Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Beyond « Dibbler Dabbler
Very fascinating! Thanks for sharing both pictures and info. 🙂
Thanks, Inga. Glad you enjoyed them. 🙂
Looks like another fascinating day in Belize, Sylvia. The ancient ruins of Lamanai look great through your eyes. 🙂
Thanks so much, Cathy. Glad you enjoyed my visit. 🙂
Pingback: 1-24-13 Weekly Photo Challenge Beyond #3 (Going Beyond) « The Quotidian Hudson
What an adventure. Totally exciting. I felt like I was there myself. Thanks.
I’m so glad you enjoyed being there with me. 🙂
Hi ad, this is a really interesting post! Thanks for great photos, as well as the history. I’ve added it to my to-go list.
Thanks so much, Naomi. You’ll really enjoy your visit. 🙂
AD, you have excelled yourself with this post. I will be visiting it again and again. I love the way you describe each of the photo’s, giving us the feeling of actually visiting with you. Thank you! 🙂
Dear adee, thank you so much for your lovely and encouraging comment. I’m so happy that you were able to come along with me. 🙂
That is an amazing photo essay, it really caught the atmosphere of the history and culture. I enjoyed visiting it with you
Thanks so much, Pommepal. I’m glad you enjoyed our visit. 🙂
Great history lesson. As I was climbing to the top with you in your pictures I was a little afraid I’d fall off the edge of your blog and hopefully land on the ruined city, and not fall clear off the mountain. It was scary!!!! But iI made it, as you can see!!! 🙂 Whew!!! 🙂 Marsha
Thanks, Marsha. So glad you enjoyed the climb. 😀
Lucky you to have seen all this and experienced so much during your stay! The Mayans are very interesting and their culture amazing. Thank you for sharing such an informative post!
Yes, it was a very interesting experience indeed. The Maya have always fascinated me, and it was nice to see where they’d actually lived all that time ago. 🙂
Another fabulous travelogue, AD! I really enjoyed this! 😉
Thank you. I’m glad you did. 🙂
Very Beautiful Captures…
Thanks so much, vikey. 🙂
I’d love to have that crocodile figurine! What a great trip.
So between the two of us, we’d take their best exhibits. 🙂
I guess I’d settle for a replica.
There weren’t any; only postcards. 😦
Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Beyond « To Mother Earth, with Love
What an informative post! Thanks for taking us along on your journey.
The “horse balls” tree is very funny indeed, 🙂
Thanks, Grace. Glad you enjoyed. 🙂
Great post AD ! I’m not sure that I would have been any good on that Ball Court *what no hands* Lovely way you have of telling the story 😉
Thanks so much, Poppy. Yes, that ball game sounds pretty hectic, but I’m sure you’d learn fast if your life depended on not dropping the ball. After all, who wants to be sacrificed to the gods?? 😯
Ye Gods … NO please … not the Hollow Sacrificial Stone 😀
Tee hee 😆
fascinating pics Love them
Thanks, Roly. 🙂
This is such a beautiful place to be! Where exactly is it? And where can I get my plane tickets to get there? (: Hahaha, lovely post! nerdwithtaste.wordpress.com
It’s in the northern part of Belize, near the Mexican border, on the Yukatan Peninsular. Glad you enjoyed my tour with me. 🙂
Fascinating post and photos AD, what an amazing place to visit!
Thanks, optie. Yes it was. 🙂
Stunning photography once again my friend , I really enjoy your collections here
Thanks for sharing 🙂
Thanks so much, Jake. 🙂
What a fascinating place! Great post and very interesting. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks so much, Gail. Glad you enjoyed. 🙂
Good morning my dear friend, how are you ?, the Post is as always excellent, compelling and unique. Have a very happy and happiness filled day
Good morning to you too, Stefan. Thanks so much for your kind words. 🙂
that was an incredible day .. thanks for telling us all about this very interesting city and culture 🙂
Yes it was, Christine. Thanks for coming along with me, 🙂
Thanx for jungle pics, 🙂
My pleasure, matron. 🙂
I enjoyed this post very much. I am reading Charles Mann’s book, “1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus”, in which he describes in infinite and fascinating detail the new discoveries about the peoples and the cultures of the Americas. Of course the Mayans are there too. I would like to visit some of these sites in South and Central America. You have illustrated a fantastic piece here. Thank you for the tour!
Thanks so much for your encouraging comment, George. The book sounds fascinating, and I hope you do get to visit some of the sites one day. 🙂
I’m so happy I finally made time to read this. It’s a wonderful post about a fascinating place. I admire your skills in hiking while taking notes. Remembering details have always been a weak point for me. Could be what keeps my posts a tad short on words? I’m really looking forward to MY trip now… I was wallowing in the nasties that ganged up on me, so it feels good to be looking forward to something again!
Thanks, Gunta. I sometimes think that fellow tourists must think I’m a reporter. 😆 They just wander along, with information going in one ear and out the other, and there I am with pen and notebook, scribbling away, even when the boats rocking, and I’m getting drenched with torrential rain. I must be a bit crazy, I think. So glad you’re feeling more upbeat now. A trip on the horizon always lifts one’s spirits, doesn’t it? 🙂
Maybe crazy, but definitely wonderful. It’s what makes your blog so fascinating. Come to think of it, you are a reporter… to us! And we love it.
Thanks, Gunta. You really made me smile. 😀
You are not alone in thinking that allspice is a blend of spices when in fact it is an actual spice 😉
😀 It’s an easy mistake to make, with that name.
You take absolutely breathtaking photos! Thank you for sharing them and making the readers feel as if they are right there with you….
Thanks so much for your very kind comment. 🙂
Absolutely amazing! I think the incense burner would have looked charming in your living room 😉
I have the perfect spot for it too. 🙂
Amazing day for sure, but I think that incense burner would have gotten you stopped at the exit! I agree though. Cool choice.
It’s wonderful that they let you climb on the ruins as at most other sites it is forbidden 😡
Yes, I was wondering if it was good for us to do this, but I did it anyway. 🙂
Pingback: Photo Project: 52 Bolivian Sundays [week 3, 'Beyond'] « 3rdculturechildren
Thanks, David. 🙂
Thanks for taking us along on your trip to Belize. Most interesting!
My pleasure, Patricia. Glad you enjoyed. 🙂
I would love to take the steps and have my mind gets lost in wander of this magical place. Then again, I would a lot about how good “Horse Balls” fruit taste? 😆
Hahaha…. Rommel, if you ever get to taste them, let me know. 😆
Sure seems that an amazing day is an understatement. Thanks for capturing so much to share!
Thanks, Frank. Glad you enjoyed our trip. 🙂
Fascinating AD! Beliz wasn’t on my bucket list…..it is now. Thank you for that whirlwind – for me – tour! Enjoyed every moment 😀
Thanks, Madhu. Somewhere you haven’t been yet? 😀
Howler monkeys, very cool! Thanks for taking a picture of those horse balls, I learned something new today. 🙂
You’re so welcome to the horse balls, Milka. 😀
Ahh, beyond! I was slow there, Ad, unlike your husband, the mountain goat!
Thanks, Jo. Yes, hubby is as agile as a mountain goat. 😆
That looks amazing! At least if I don’t manage to go there one day, I can still say that I went for a tour 🙂
You’re very welcome to travel vicariously through me, TA. 🙂
Adventures and great day you had .. was it now during holiday???? Like the monkey photo. A bit like being in a time machine. Amazing how some cultures was so far advance to the rest of us.
Yes it was during my week in Belize. Yes, they were very advanced. Pity they just fizzled out. 😦
I really enjoyed these pictures and your descriptions. It makes me want to get out some of mine from trips to Mayan ruins. Lucky you to have visited this place!
That’s fantastic Sylvia, what a trip! The things concealed in the stone fascinate me most 🙂
Me too. I would have loved to be there when they uncovered them. There is still so much more excavation going on, and will be for a very long time.
Fantastic articles and fotos @Adin, fantastic the Strangler Fig tree 🙂
Glad you enjoyed our tour, Della Anna. 🙂
That sort of place would keep me busy for a week or two… how wonderful you got to see it… lucky you… beautiful photographic trip…
Yes, it was wonderful, and once again, I would have wished that we didn’t have a plane to catch, and could spend more time there.
I would probably have liked to spend the whole week just here AD 😉
Such amazing history the Mayans had…
Lovely post 😉
Thanks and glad you enjoyed. Yes, there is so much to see and explore that a couple of hours is certainly not enough time.
Great pics and I love the old homeopathic remedies – they use all those in Turkey as they can’t afford pharmacies
Thanks, Dallas. Yes, those remedies were fascinating. There was one tree called ‘The Give and Take’. It is covered in poisonous razor sharp thorns, and the only antidote to the poison, is in the sap of the tree. 🙂
Not sure I like the sound of that one, although I can think of a couple of people I’d like to try it out on!
Hehehe….you’re feeling naughty today. 😀
A really interesting post Sylvia. The Mayans, the original recyclers making flutes out of thigh bones. I just hope whoever’s thigh bone it was had finished with it. I guess there’s a good chance they hadn’t. 😯
Hahaha…..yes, I suspect that if they needed a thigh bone, they would just take the nearest. 😀
WOW! This is a wonderful post and beautiful photographs… How nice of you, shared with us, I haven’t seen these places. Should be so exciting. Thank you dear AD, love, nia
Thanks so much, nia. It was a most interesting and exciting visit. Love to you too. xx
Wow! Lucky you to have been able to visit this incredible place and see such amazing things!
Thanks, Madelaine. 🙂
Fantastic post as usual ad. You most have tons of pics 🙂
Thanks, Hopestar. Rather too many pics sometimes. Hugs and have a great week. 🙂
nice to see the sugarcane truck – if not, I may had been lost in history 🙂
Well I’m glad I posted the pic then, ft. I’d hate for you to be lost. 🙂