Home Headlines These are the archaeological sites in Yucatan that have been closed to the public for 3 years

These are the archaeological sites in Yucatan that have been closed to the public for 3 years

by Sofia Navarro
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Three years after being closed to the public, the Loltun and Balankanche caves remain inaccessible due to the aftermath of the floods they suffered in 2020, and there is currently no date for their reopening, according to the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).

In Yucatan, there are 17 archaeological monument zones open to the public, but only 15 are currently functioning, and during the third month of the year, 277,637 tourists were received.

On March 20, 2020, due to COVID-19, the sites were closed to cut the transmission chain of the pandemic. Three years after this operation, the doors of the Loltun and Balankanche caves remain closed.

The situation was complicated due to the 2020 rains, whose aftermath still prevails, as the floods generated a muddy mess, which makes access difficult. Closing them avoids risks for tourism.

That year, the problem was complicated by abundant rainfall, the passage of Tropical Storms Cristobal and Gamma, as well as Hurricanes Delta and Zeta, category two and one, respectively, as well as various Cold Fronts. Only Cristobal generated, from May 31 to June 6, 2020, an accumulated 534 mm or its equivalent in liters per square meter in Yucatan, and the highest record was in Holca, with 980.6 mm.

In the case of Gamma and Delta, as well as frontal systems 4 and 5, which occurred from October 1 to 7, 2020, the accumulated rainfall for the state was 312 mm, but in Sisal, a port in Hunucma, it was 517.7 mm.

Recent rains have prevented both archaeological sites from drying out, hence their reopening has been delayed.

Balankanche, located six kilometers from Chichen Itza, is a cave that served as a ceremonial center for the ancient Mayan settlers, whose main chronological location is the Early Postclassic, dating from 900 to 1200 AD.

In the cave, visitors can admire stalactites and other rock formations, but the most important space is a room located 200 meters from the entrance, where there is a structure called the Throne of Balam.

In the center of this same room, which is seven meters high, stands a large pillar formed by the fusion of a stalactite with a stalagmite, resembling a large ceiba tree, called the Sacred Ceiba.

Likewise, currently, the Loltun caves are the archaeological site that contains the broadest chronological sequence in the Northern Yucatan Peninsula.

The cultural evidence in these caves suggests, in addition, a use as a camp in early stages and later as a habitational site.

INAH reported that the occupation sequence begins with materials that are a product of early human presence in the Yucatan Peninsula, around 9000 BC, and continues with the domestication of plants and animals and later the incorporation of architecture and sculpture into their daily activities, illustrating the social process that led the nomadic man to become sedentary.

TYT Newsroom

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