Archive for December, 2007

Looking Back: Chichen Named World Wonder Top Story of 2007

December 30th, 2007 by ejalbright


Visitors to Chichen Itza on July 7, 2007, celebrating Chichen Itza’s selection as one of the new Wonders of the World. Photo by Allen Mason/Brits in Cancun

The Diario de Yucatan, the region’s newspaper of record, declared the appointment of Chichen Itza as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World as the top story of 2007.

Rounding out the top three was the return to power of the PRI, starting with the election of Governor Ivonne Ortega Pacheco, and the brutal slaying of Cubans in Merida by what is believed to be Mexican drug cartels.

Click HERE to find out how Chichen became a Wonder of the World.

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Egypt ‘Copyrighting’ Monuments–Can Yucatan Be Far Behind

December 27th, 2007 by ejalbright


Egypt wants to copyright its ancient monuments, statues and art, and then collect royalties on copies which will be used to preserve and maintain sites in Egypt.

The idea is the brainchild of Zahi Hawass, the media-savvy director of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities. “The new law will completely prohibit the duplication of historic Egyptian monuments which the Supreme Council of Antiquities considers 100-percent copies,” he told the news service AFP. “If the law is passed then it will be applied in all countries of the world so that we can protect our interests.”.

If the Egyptian parliament passes the law (dubious), and if the copyright is recognized around the world (very doubtful), can other countries be far behind? Will Mexico copyright the monuments and art of Chichén Itzá, such as El Castillo, which is used in advertising around the world, or Chac Mool, which has inspired other artists since its discovery 130 years ago?

Via Boing Boing

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Saudi Prince Visits Chichen Itza

December 26th, 2007 by ejalbright

Last week a Saudi prince visited Chichen Itza. The prince was not named for security reasons.

He had been staying in Cancun, but joined a group of World War II pensioners from Britain on tour bus for the two-hour ride to Chichen…no, that’s a joke. He and his party rented a plane to fly to the Chichen Itza Airport in Kaua, 15 kilometers away. From there he took private transport to the archaeological zone..

But like the average tourist, the prince spent only 90 minutes touring the monuments. According to the Diario de Yucatan, he was particularly interested in a newly excavated floor which had been buried for 900 years. After the tour, the prince stopped at the Mayaland Hotel for a meal, and then back to Cancun.

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Zooming over Chichen Itza

December 25th, 2007 by ejalbright

If you happen to be making a documentary film of Chichen Itza and need 16 seconds of a view from a plane or helicopter zooming over the ancient city, look no further than Getty Images.



You can find the brief clip HERE.

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Ukranian Vassily Ivanchuk Wins Yucatan Chess Tourney at Chichen Itza

December 24th, 2007 by ejalbright

Photo by Instituto del Deporte del Estado de Yucatán

Grandmaster Vassily Ivanchuk, the number two chess player in the world, proved himself the best in Yucatan by winning the twentieth Carlos Torre Repetto Memorial Chess Tournament Saturday.

The final match of the weeklong tourney, which pitched Ivanchuk against Pentala Harikrisna of India, similarly a Grandmaster, was held in front of El Castillo, the great pyramid at Chichen Itza. The competition was broadcast live on television and over the Internet.

Ivanchuk won the first match in the morning, but Harikrisna managed to even the score in the second round, forcing a tiebreaker, which the two men agreed to immediately play, even though they had been in front of the chessboard for 10 hours. Ivanchuk won the tiebreaker and became champion of Latin America’s biggest open chess tournment.

For more details and a list of all the participants, visit the Instituto del Deporte del Estado de Yucatan (IDEY) Web site.

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Happy Solstice! Workers Unite!

December 21st, 2007 by ejalbright

The Diario de Yucatan reports that today, on the winter solstice, workers for INAH, the federal agency that oversees the archaeological zone, is enduring a work stoppage for “non-payment of allowances.”

On the solstice, the sun splits El Castillo in half, bathing two sides in full sunlight and two sides in full shade. Workers and management at Chichen apparently are equally split, but over money.

The work stoppage apparently has not spread to workers inside the archaeological zone itself, but among workers affiliated with the ancient city.

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Cenote Near Chichen

December 20th, 2007 by ejalbright

Several weeks ago, the folks at Yucatan Living went out to see how the women of a small village in Yucatan, not far from Chichen Itza, is trying to drum up tourism business by way of its own lovely cenote. Here’s a video report of what they found:

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Chichen Itza Wins Ginger Bread House Contest

December 19th, 2007 by ejalbright

Fing Chichen Itza

A graham cracker sculpture called “F***ing Chichen Itza” (click on all links at your own risk as there is offensive language) has won the “Gingerbread House Throwdown,” an international competition of edible edifices sponsored by a Flickr group Powerhousearchive.

The sculpture, a masterful recreation of the pyramid at Chichen Itza, the Temple of Kukulcan (also known as El Castillo), placed first, ahead of worthy competition such as “Big Al’s Birthday Cake” and the “Domino Sugar Factory.”

The Chichen sculpture no doubt won because of its intricate detailing. At the top stands a high priest …

high priest

There are victims of sacrifice, their bodies shattered at the bottom of stairway …


There is also a funeral pyre underway, cleverly made from what appears to be jelly beans …


Congratulations to jenn, jessica, anna, and noah, who no doubt slaved for years, just like the ancient Maya, to construct the facsimile pyramid. Well done!

(via The Gothamist)

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Chichen Itza Chac Mool Captivates Midwestern Artist

December 18th, 2007 by ejalbright

Inner Circle
“Inner Circle” by David Deming (photo by Norm Roulet)

Putnam Sculpture Collection, at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Deming claims that he was inspired by the Chac Mool, a type of statue discovered at Chichen Itza in 1875 by the explorer Augustus Le Plongeon. The statue, the first of what would be more than a dozen found at the site, is now in the national museum in Mexico City (below).

Chac Mool
Photo by George and Audrey De Lange

At the reception last month dedicating Inner Circle, Deming told the audience that the first saw the image in a slide show at a Cleveland Institute of Art class. But how does one go from a Mesoamerican statue of a man resting on his elbows to an almost circle that looks like a giant steel rocking chair? The answer is Henry Moore.

Henry Moore was obsessed with the Chac Mool, which like Deming, he saw first as a photograph. He spent his career creating different versions of it.

Henry Moore’s “Reclining Woman” (1929)

As the years went on, Moore stayed with the Chac Mool form, but his sculptures became more and more abstract:

Photo Jay Cross

‘Reclining Figure’ 1969-70 (photo: The Henry Moore Foundation)

Photo David Gaines

Moore kept going until it was hard to see the Chac Mool. But it’s there, amidst the sheep:

Deming was not only inspired by the Chac Mool, but also by Henry Moore. “Henry Moore was a big person that influenced me, in a positive and negative way,” Deming said in an interview. “Since I was interested in the figure and I was starting to do abstract work, I was trying to create semi-reclined, abstract figures, and every time I’d go to do it, they’d look like a Henry Moore, you know. It was like I couldn’t escape from this man.”

Deming called Moore his “nemesis.” As the two of them had the same inspiration, the Chac Mool, Deming searched to find his own way to express the shape. According to Deming, Moore used “flowing, organic forms” so he decided to go “hard edged.”

“I’ll use more mechanical shapes, you know, and especially when I started welding,” Deming said. “So I would use hard edges instead of rounding things off. Just that one move allowed me to break away visually and conceptually to this artist who was influencing me.”

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Virtual World Expands Offerings from Mexico

December 17th, 2007 by ejalbright

Mexico is expanding in the virtual world of Second Life.

Visit Mexico
, an arm of the Mexico Tourism Board, several months ago commissioned a replica of some of the monuments at Chichen Itza in Second Life, a virtual world that plays like a video game that players access over the Internet. Second Life has its own economy (Linden dollars), and members can buy virtual property and build digital houses in it that their “avatar,” the digital version of themselves, can interact with.

The Mexican Tourism Board built the Second Life version of itself to promote Chichén Itzá to be named one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. A few months ago, Visit Mexico acquired virtual parcels next to the site and two weeks ago began building on them. The new parcels apparently will feature other sites in Mexico.


In one section, it appears that Visit Mexico is building a virtual version of Tulum (above), the ancient Maya city on the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. The tourism photos that the architects are using to design the pre-Columbian buildings can be seen. In another portion, it appears they are constructing a mountainous section of Mexico, complete with waterfalls (below). The architect, “Kris Lehmann,” can be seen at work in the bottom right of the photo.



Attack of the Clones, Chichen Itza-Style

Too Chicken for Chichen in Second Life? See the Movie!

Online Equinox A Marvel

Chichen Itza Equinox to be Replicated in Virtual World

El Castillo Gets ‘Second Life’

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