There’s something unnerving about wandering around areas which had been colonized and ruined long before you or anyone you know had ever been born. It’s especially humbling when you realize, even with masterful use of the internet, you could likely never recreate these massive temples. As we walked through the humble Mayan ruins of Tazumal in El Salvador these feelings were strong despite numerous unappreciative comments scattered throughout TripAdvisor. Having never been to the Yucatan peninsula and its myriad, epic ruins, the Russky and I were more than enthralled by the mini-ruins.
The area was inhabited by natives from the start of the BCE until sometime in the 1200s, unsettled by Spanish conquerors and lured to a larger settlement to the west. The Tazumal ruins were excavated in the 40s and 50s – most of what was recovered (and what you can see while visiting) are dated from 250-900 CE. Over 1,000 years ago! That’s an incredibly hard fact to process and, frankly, if you’re so unimpressed as to write a ‘meh’ comment online, I don’t think you’ve got a romantic bone in your body. Because there is something romantic and tragic in a civilization fallen by the wayside only existing to be explored by half-hearted tourists.
Let’s put that into perspective, shall we? In that time, Moscow was at best a minor trade town on the side of the river. In Virginia, Native American tribes flourished through the area, but lived very simply in comparison to the grand machinations of the Central American tribes.
That something stone and made completely by hand is simply mind-blowing, even if it site does only take 30 minutes to wander through.
Tazumal Mayan Ruins
$1 for El Salvadorians $3 for foreigners
To get there: From San Salvador take bus 202 from terminal del Occidente. From Santa Ana take bus 201 from the central market. Both are about $1. Ask for las ruinas or simply Tazumal.