Mayan Ruins at Tulum in Mexico

The House of Cenote rises above the surroundings the Mayan city of Tulum in Mexico. Read all about it at Burnsland!

The House of Cenote rises above the surroundings at the Mayan city of Tulum in Mexico.

During our recent cruise to Mexico, one of our shore excursions was to Tulum, the ruins of a Mayan city. The city was built between 500 and 800 years ago, and it was last occupied in the early 16th century. All of that makes it one of the oldest places I have ever visited. Old things are cool! And I’m not just saying that because I am getting older.

Tulum is also a National Park in Mexico, which is also cool. I have thought that we should visit more national parks, but when I was thinking that, I never thought that we might visit one in Mexico!

This particular building is known as the House of Cenote, because it was built over a cenote, which is a sinkhole or pit with water from the ground underneath it. A hole was constructed in the house to get water from the cenote down underneath it. Our guide suggested that elevating the water up to this building was a way of making it holy water by raising it up, but I’m not sure if anyone really knows that for certain.

You can’t see it in this photo, but we were standing at the entrance to the cenote down below, although we couldn’t actually go down into it. So here is a photo of Laura near the cenote entrance, just to give you a little more perspective on everything:

Laura at Tulum-1500

In this photo, you can see the House of Cenote up above the rocks, and the people in the background are blocking the view of the cenote.

You may also notice that Laura is holding a bottle of water. Having something to drink was essential, because the expected temperature that day was around 115 degrees. That didn’t slow us down any from seeing everything in the time that we had, but it did make us thankful for some water to replace all that we were sweating out. But you can also see that despite the heat she was all smiles, because we were both quite excited to be in such a cool place as Tulum!

It was neat to walk through and see what was left of all the old structures, trying to imagine what they looked like when they were new. Back in the original days, the buildings were covered with obsidian stone and also painted with interesting colors, such as those that you might see in illustrations. However, the obsidian was all carted away by people who wanted it, especially the Europeans who came to the area. And the colors have all disappeared because of the effects of the sun and the weather. So now we can only imagine.

It was also interesting to imagine what life would be like there. Apparently, the people of that area in those days were used to the heat, because they really didn’t have any other choice, did they? Even the outsiders that came in couldn’t tell them about the magic of air conditioning, because that was still a long way off in the inventing timeline. Still, it did make us thankful for the air conditioning that we enjoyed later on, since we live in this modern world with all of its modern conveniences.

But often it is good to break away from those modern conveniences and go see some real, live history. Even if it is hot.

A wise man will listen and increase his learning, and a discerning man will obtain guidance. - Proverbs 1:5

About the Photos

To keep things simple, I mainly used my all-purpose 14-42mm lens, so there aren’t that many fisheye photos of Tulum. Although you will see a few, because I did eventually switch lenses a couple of times once I saw how things were inside the park. Still, these photos with the standard lens are just as cool. And I really liked the perspective of looking up at this structure from down below, with the palm tree rising up beside it.

Here is the before and after version of this photo:

Mayan Ruins at Tulum-beforeafter-1500

Photo: A single Raw exposure, processed in Photoshop. Read more about photography tips, photo software, camera gear, and more at Steve’s Photography Tips.
Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M10
Lens: Olympus 14-42mm IIR
Date: July 18, 2016
Location: Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

2016 Cruise to Mexico

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Burnsland is Steve Burns, with generous help from his lovely wife Laura. Steve is a husband, father, photographer, webmaster, writer, podcaster, artist, Christian. Steve enjoys sharing his photography, art, and stories through, from the Burnsland World Headquarters in Tennessee.