Archive for July, 2013

Nightly Light-and-Sound Show to Return to Chichen Itza in 2014

July 27th, 2013 by ejalbright

A new and improved light-and-sound show will return nightly to Chichen Itza sometime in 2014, the Yucatan secretary of tourism promised this week.

The nightly program where colored lights would shine on the monuments in time to a narration about the ancient Maya was shut down last year after lightning damaged the equipment and after archaeologists complained of damage to ruins at Teotihuacan, which has a similar show. A few months later Jorge Esma Bazan, director of Yucatan’s Patronato Cultur department, announced he had hired French painter and video artist Xavier de Richemont to create an entirely new program that would be unveiled in 2013.

In last week’s announcement, Tourism Secretary Saúl Ancona Salazar made no mention of whether de Richemont would be involved, but said that $40 million MXN had been budgeted for a light and sound show that would use 3D technology. He said that the project, originated by the previous administration, was “quite robust” so the current administration has the project under review at INAH, the federal agency in charge of the Chichen Itza ruins.

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Chichen Itza Sold–Again!

July 15th, 2013 by ejalbright

It’s like deja vu all over again. Chichen Itza has been sold, this time to the federal government.

Back in February, American Egypt received word that Carmen Barbachano y Gomez Rul, owner of the Hacienda Chichen and extensive property south had sold what is known as Chichen Viejo, or old Chichen. These are a collection of ruins, many of them restored over the past decades, but are off limits to the general public. The rumor was that doña Carmen had sold the property for $200 million Mexican.

It turns out the rumor was true, if La Jornada, a Yucatecan periodical, is to be believed. The journal reported that in the waning days of the administration of President Felipe Calderon, the federal agency Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (National Institute of Anthropology and History, better known as INAH) paid doña Carmen almost $232 million (more than $18 million U.S.) for 99 hectares.

La Jornada wants to know why the purchase was never made public, and by what legal mechanism it was executed, for federal law limits how much can be paid for private property. According to the publication, INAH used a special fund, Fideinah, created for the purpose of purchasing property related to national patrimony.

At one time the fund was earmarked to purchase the main archaeological zone of Chichen Itza, but when a review of federal law uncovered that the government could only pay $8 million Mexican, the plan was abandoned. Instead the state of Yucatan purchased for $220 million Mexican the main archaeological zone, which includes the area open to tourists.

The transaction between INAH and doña Carmen closed on Oct. 17, 2012, according to records uncovered by La Jornada.

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