Before I tell you about this archaelogical site, I’m going to bore you with my bus adventures again gentle reader. I just managed to survive the switchback journey back to Queretaro without losing my breakfast and after a night recovering in a dubious hotel, spent the next day making my way via Mexico City to the town of Poza Rica near the east coast. I can tell you nothing about this town as I checked into a hotel directly opposite the bus station and put two days of feeling nauseous behind me by eating at Burger King.
El Tajin was an important city between the 9th and 13th centuries, its influence extending a long way along the gulf coast. It falls chronologically between the Teotihuacan and Tenochtitlan empires (see earlier posts). Its architectural style is apparently unique in central America, including the use of decorative niches.
This is also one of the most thoroughly excavated and well preserved (although restoration has occured) sites from this period and there is still more of it peeking out from the edges of the surrounding jungle.
Ceremonial ball game courts are much in evidence – seventeen have been found. Some have carved stone panels along the side, one having a panel showing the decapitation of a player (all part of the ritual).
The site is particulary known for one structure, the Pyramid of the Niches. It has 365 niches, including ones found under a later staircase, so linking it to the solar year. The pyramid was originally coverd in stucco painted dark red, with the niches picked out in black, which must have been pretty striking.
As usual, I have nowhere near enough parts to build anything impressive from these sites. In the event I’ve build half of this low structure:
Just imagine a mirror image to the right…