Thursday, March 29, 2018

Coba Ruins


La Iglesia

On our journey back to Hacienda Chichen we took a route that brought us to the Maya Ruins of Coba. As far as excavations go its the opposite of Ek' Balam. Coba is a gigantic site that's so big you either have to rent a bike or hire one of the guys that peddle you around on a tricycle Taxi. You can walk but its quite long and hot.

Ruins in the Jungle
Historically, Coba evidence shows it was first settled between 50 BCE and 100 CE. In those early times the buildings were wood on flat platforms. There's nothing left, archaeologists have only found bits of pottery. After 100 CE the city started to grow and eventually became one of the largest and most powerful city states in northern Yucatan. They controlled large farmlands, trade routes and crucially water supplies.

Coba Sacbe
Coba is a large site and is known for its Sacbes (limestone roads). The Sacbe (plural is Sacbeob) is a road like a long low platform. Its sides were walls of rough stone that enclosed a roadbed that was filled with boulders, leveled with gravel and was paved with sascab which is powdered limestone, a natural cement that hardens. The Sacbeob makes very practical and high quality roads through the jungle for hundreds of miles in all directions.

Temple Nohoch Mul
Coba had close contacts with the large city states of Guatemala and Tikal and must have had military alliances and arranged marriages among the elite. Interestingly, Coba buildings have traces of Teotihuacan architecture that shows contact with central Mexico cultures in the Classic era. Also Stelae uncovered at Coba seem show that Coba had many female rulers.

Coba Ball Court
Only a small portion of Coba has been cleared from the jungle and restored. Since we got there in the late afternoon we were only able to explore the Coba Group, close to the entrance. Made it to the Iglesia and one of the two ball courts. We were also able to see the Nohoch Mul Pyramid which is 42 meters tall (137 feet). It is the tallest pyramid in the Yucatan and the name Nohoch Mul means large hill. Its very popular to climb and from the top you can see a remarkable view of the Yucatan and non public areas of the Coba site. You can also see the Macanxoc lagoon in the East and the Coba lagoon to the Southwest. 

Famed Coba Tricycle Taxi
Walking through these ruins in the jungle, if you're lucky you can see parrots, butterflies and even the occasional spider monkey. Large ceiba trees grow over the ancient stonework and the sound of the jungle is wonderful. With its beautiful jungle setting, Coba is a pleasure to explore.

On our next trip to the Yucatan we will definitely return to Coba for more exploration.

Highly recommended!
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