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Remarkable Ruins – Coba, Mexico

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Located in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, on the Yucatan Peninsula, Cobá is a large ruined city of the Maya civilization. In the Maya language Coba means “water stirred by wind”, or ‘‘ruffled waters.” In fact, Coba is located around two large lagoons, in the wild eastern half of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico.  For many years it was an ignored piece of Mayan history due to its remote location surrounded by dense forest.

It was estimated by many that, during the peak of its heydays, Coba had about 50,000  inhabitants, or significantly more. The bulk of its major constructions seem to have been made in the middle and late Classic period, about 500 to 900 AD, with most of the dated hieroglyphic inscriptions are from the 7th century. However, during the Post-Classical era, Coba was definitely an important place. Those were the days, when new temples were built and old ones were repaired, until at least the 14th century, possibly as late as the Spanish invasion.

Coba should not be mistaken as a single site, it is rather a complex or a large group of sites connected to a central temple complex by a series of elevated walkways, known as Sacbe (plural Sacbeob) or “white roads”. There are more than 16 of these  white roads or walkways at Coba, that connected the clusters of residential areas to the main center of the site and the water sources. In fact, these walkways acted as the connectors of different sites of Coba.

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From top : La Iglesia, Nohoch Mul, The Ixmoja pyramid and Coba Ballgame Court
From top : La Iglesia, Nohoch Mul, The Ixmoja pyramid and Coba Ballgame Court

Today, interested persons can use those shaded walkways that are the original Sacbe (white roads), visit the three settlements with the ruins of the ancient architecture, have a look at the two ball-courts and climb the highest Mayan pyramid in the Yucatan. The site contains a group of large temple pyramids known as the Nohoch Mul. However, the tallest among all them, is Ixmoja, which is about 42 m (138 ft) high, and boasts a remarkable view of the Yucatán Peninsula and the non-public area of Coba. The non-public area of Coba includes both the lagoons – Macanxoc Lagoon to the east and Cobá Lagoon to the southwest. These beautiful lagoons or cenotes, are actually, underground sinkholes filled with crystal blue fresh water and are adorned with stalagmites hanging from the ceiling.

Apart from the above, there is a series of structures, known as Coba Group, close to the entrance of the complex, that include the Iglesia (the Church) and one of two ball courts.

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Coba Cenote
Coba Cenote

 

Dibyendu Banerjee
Dibyendu Banerjee

Ex student of Scottish Church College. Served a Nationalised Bank for nearly 35 years. Authored novels in Bengali. Translated into Bengali novels/short stories of Leo Tolstoy, Eric Maria Remarque, D.H.Lawrence, Harold Robbins, Guy de Maupassant, Somerset Maugham and others. Also compiled collections of short stories from Africa and Third World. Interested in literature, history, music, sports and international films.

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