A couple of days before we left for home, we went on a half-day tour of Edznà, another huge Mayan city about an hour from Campeche. These cities never cease to amaze. In two or three hours, we managed to see and learn about one small part of what was once, 800 BC or so, a city-state of 20,000 or more.
Along the sides of a plaza which looked to be at least several football fields in length, were a palace, a huge grandstand facing a magnificent multi-plane palace and temple, a ball court and a series of smaller temples. In reconstructing one of the smaller temples, the archeologists were able to unearth a previous incarnation of the pyramid-like structure. The ancient Mayans built their grand structures over top of existing buildings, like one of those wooden Russian dolls.
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Photo gallery: Magnificent Edznà
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As in all of these sites, probably only a tenth of the buildings have been found and reconstructed. As our guide pointed out, in the jungle states to the southwest, you could walk past an ancient building for years and because it would be so overgrown, you would have no idea anything was there.
The tour was super easy to arrange at one of the travel agents in town. It was about $55 each and once again we had a knowledgeable guide, this one not as much a veteran as a couple of the guides we had, but an enthusiastic student of Mayan culture and history.
On the way there, we had our closest encounter yet with a police roadblock. On every other occasion we had seen one, we were in a highway bus and high above the action. For this one, the police were able to look directly into our van as our guide smiled (somewhat nervously, I thought) and waved his tourist credentials. “They’re there for our protection,” he said.