Uxmal and The Petotle Game

Uxmal is both close to Merida and the campeche. Being 154 km’s away from Campeeche,  Uxhal is about 70 km’s away from Merida. We arrived to Uxmal through campeche and seeing the tiny village homes on the road piqued our interest. We get off the bus and tour around one of the said villages. The walls of the houses are made of wood, their roof is covered with palm tree leaves. Most of the houses consists of single rooms and have no furnitures in them. Not even beds. They hanged hammocks on to the walls, which they use instead of beds.

The villages consist of mostly 10-15 households. These villages are mostly matriarchal. The oldest women in the village is acting as their spokesperson. For girls that are of age, they build houses of single rooms and wait for grooms.

After touring this village, we continue onward and reach the Uxmal’s Temples. These temples were built in the 600 A.D. Every civilization that settled here, made additions to it. The life here continued onward until the 1200’s and then the site was abandoned.

First we arrive to the Holy Temple. This is a temple with 117 stairs, and is also known as the “Devin Pyramid.” This temple differentiates itself from the other temples by having an elyptical shape. There are temples located on both of it’s 2 sides. On the first side there is the temple built for Çaak the god of Rain and on the second side the Snake god Kukultan has his altar. There are many engravings of different animals on the walls.

Top of the governing building was used as an observatory. They built 2 gates here. On the Equinox times, 21th of March and 22th of September, the light comes inside through these entrances.

4,6,9,13 and 80 are holy numbers for the Mayans. We observe in awe as we see their incredibly developed level in science and astronomy.

The mayans developed 3 Mayan Calendars at the time;

1st is the agricultural calendar. It consists of 13 months with 20 days each. A total of 260 days.

2nd is the sun calendar, consisting of 18 months with 20 days, and makes up for 360 days. They added 5 days to this but they are deemed cursed days.

3rd one is the Venus calendar. 8 sun years equals to 5 Venus years.

We were also very impressed at the problem solving skills regarding the water ways of the area. Gotta mention, we also encountered many cute looking iguanas on the road.

Afterwards we get to the area where they play a game of holy ball. This game called “Petotle” has a certain set of rules, 2 times consisting of 6-7 per team, plays a game with a small ball made of rubber, weighing about 300 gr’s for the small ball and 1.400 gr’s for the large ball. This is not only a game but also a way of prayer. Since the captain of the winning team earns the right to sacrifice his life to the gods. There are small holes near the game areas. The game played with the little ball has it’s hole a bit more to the top. While playing with the little ball , you have to make the ball pass through the hole, by only using your upper arm. While playing with the large ball, they try to do the same with lower part of their body. The captain of the winning team earns the right to sacrifice his life for the gods. The captain of the team is first taken to the damp room and tranquilized. They they go up to the highest level of the temple while dancing, and the captain is sacrificed with an obsidian knife by cutting his heart out. This ceremony used to be conducted twice a year.

We go through the areas of the ball game, with mixed feelings.

Then we get to the local restaurant where waiters in Mayan apparel and large sombrero’s work with smiles on their faces. We dine on our chickens blended in local sauces. We sip our tequila’s going “Çaka Çaka”.

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HÜSEYİN YILMAZ

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HÜSEYİN YILMAZ

 1942 Sinop Ayancık doğumluyum. Cerrahpaşa Tıp Fakültesi mezunuyum. Mecburi hizmet nedeni ile Hakkari, Yüksekova, Siirt’te görev yaptım.