Xalapa and Papantla

Continuing our July trip, we left Puebla and took the bus four hours east to the university town of Xalapa.  The archeological museum located there is as impressive as the one in Mexico City.  Beautifully designed, the museum pays tribute to three different civilizations that lived in the state of Veracruz, including the Olmec.  Among its collection, the museum has four of the 17 Olmec colossal heads that have been uncovered over the last 40 years.  The craftsmanship of these stone heads is extremely impressive, given their size.  Many other fascinating statues and objects from these ancient civilizations, including reliefs, articulated figures, and toys, are housed here.

For our last stop, we headed north five hours by bus to the small town of Papantla, near the coast.  Papantla is home to the voladores, a group of indigenous men that have trained to ¨fly¨ attached by a rope to an 82-foot pole.  An impressive and dangerous feat, five men first climb the pole and wind their ropes around the pole, while sitting on a small platform.  The captain sits and then stands on the top of the pole playing his flute and drum.  After the captain has played to all cardinal directions, the four men fall backwards and ¨fly¨ as their ropes slowly unwind to the ground.  Papantla is also home to El Tajin, one of the most impressive archeological sites in Mexico.  At its peak between 600 and 1200 AD, El Tajin is believed to have been an important religious and administrative center with 17 ball courts.  Its most famous pyramid is “El Pirámide de los Nichos”, which has niches for 365 murals.  All of these murals have been removed now, but it must have been an impressive sight when they were part of the pyramid.  It was cloudy and rainy the day we visited El Tajin, but the weather only added to the beauty and mystery of this wonderful site!

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One Response to “Xalapa and Papantla”

  1. Jeff Says:

    What beautiful pictures! Looks like central Mexico has been getting a lot of rain. The Office of the Pacific Basin continues to sorely miss Juliet! Have fun “Julie and Charlie”!

    Jeff Dutton

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