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Coba - Andy's adventures
This archaeological site is in the dense jungle of the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico and contains about 6500 unique structures. It includes the highest temple in the Yucatan called Nohoch Mul. The Mayan civilization began to live there around 500 A.D. and it was at its peak around 800-1100 A.D. During these years, the Mayans built at least 16 sacbeoobs (white roads) and some were as long as 62 miles. Also during these years, the population grew to 55,000 people. The city grew to cover 44 square miles. Today, only 5% of the structure have been fully excavated.
My Personal Experience
Driving to Coba was exciting. We had to go into the jungle on a narrow road. We only passed two "towns". Each town had just a few houses and, surprisingly, a little playground with a basketball hoop. At each town, Mayan children would run out to the car to try to sell things. When we reached Coba, there were a few tiny shops selling souvenirs, and a small entrance to the site. Once in Coba, there was a group of 4 or 5 structures that had been excavated. While we climbed halfway up one temple, a group of vultures sat at the top watching us. Then, we explored some of the tunnels under the temple and found some bats in the ceiling. As we walked down a long path to Nohoch Mul, I saw many temples hidden by the jungle. They seemed like just a bunch of dense jungle plants, but when you looked closely, you could see cut stone. Then when you looked even more closely, you could see a definite structure underneath the trees, leaves, and roots. Being in the jungle was definitely not like being in a fancy museum because this beautiful city has been largely ignored by the government and archaeologists. When I climbed Nohoch Mul, the steps were cracked and difficult to stay on. At the top of Nohoch Mul, you can see for many miles. Back on the ground, I saw the ball courts where the losing team was sacrified to the gods. It seemed amazing that the Maya could bounce the balls into the hoop using only their hips! In front of many of the monuments, there were stelae (carved and painted stone) in straw huts. Sometimes I could still see the glyphs and pictures on the stelae. I hope this site will encourage archaeologists to excavate and learn more about this outstanding city and the Mayan culture.