07 June 2012

Gallivanting in Guatemala: Zaculeu

I remember the time when I was still planning this trip to Guatemala, that I wanted to go to Huehuetenango and see Zaculeu. I don't know, but I've seen pictures of it before, and I thought that it would be cool to visit a Mayan place that is sort of off the beaten path, and not usually seen by many. I figured, I'd get bragging rights that way. I could say that I have been to Mayan sites that are not just Tikal or Copan.

So, after finishing a trek to Acul in Nebaj, I packed my bags and headed west. Huehuetenango was my destination; this happens to be the final stop of mine, before I head back to Guatemala City. This town is also the first (or last) big town that one can encounter before crossing the border onwards to Mexico, should one desire. I stayed for one night in Huehuetenango, arriving there around lunchtime, eating lunch, then visiting the Mayan ruins of Zaculeu in the afternoon. It was an easy trip: there were chicken buses that frequently stop in front of the main entrance.

Zaculeu was the capital of the Mam kingdom, and as you can see, typical Mayan city lay-outs still hold here. There are pyramids, ball courts, temples, and so forth.

As with every Mayan site that I have visited in this trip, there is something unique in every site. For Zaculeu, it is the fact that a private company restored this place in the past, using plaster. So, the effect is different. Some people see it as a Disney-fication of the site, which is why the pyramids look kinda smooth and sleek. I honestly don't know which one is better, as I am not an archaeologist by any chance.

I spent about an hour in this site. I climbed pyramids, and took shots of the whole panorama as seen from above. I think I was the only foreign visitor when I was there, as everyone else were local families and couples.

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