Day Eleven Pt. 1 - Comitan & Tenam Puente

Comitan de Dominguez Travel Blog

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Tenam Puente sign.

We left the hotel at 7am to make our day trip to Comitan and the ruins at Tenam Puente with a stop at San Cristobal on the way back.  The roads in this part of Mexico have been significantly improved in the last 20+ years.  The drive to Comitan took only about 2.5 hours.  On our way there we drove past a major military training area.  Also a large National Park with camping areas.  It would be interesting to explore if I ever found myself back here, but the odds of that are slim.

Arriving in Comitan, we made a quick banjo stop and then went on to the ruins at Tenam Puente.  These ruins of the Mayan era are the third most well-preserved in Southern Mexico.

Largest pyramid at Tenam Puente.
  The largest and best preserved are at Pelenque, but there was no time to drive that far so these would have to do.  And apparently all the Mayan civilizations were organized in a very similar manner, so other than size differences, if you've seen one you've seen them all.

These ruins were in astonishingly good shape when you consider how old they are.  Climbing to the top of the largest pyramid it was amazing to consider that elite Mayan citizens would have been here hundreds of years ago.  We were told that while sacrifices did take place, they were rarely human.  And that what human sacrifices did take place, they were people who had been raised from childhood knowing they were going to be a sacrifice at some point in time.  I suppose that was intended to make it seem better, but I still think human sacrifice is somehow lacking in the civility department.

Looking down from largest pyramid towards another pyramid at Tenam Puente.

The hill these ruins are on afford great views of the valley below.  This allowed the king or governor or whoever to maintain a view of his land, be aware of inbound threats as well as make sure his citizens were staying busy in the fields.

There are two sports arena areas there.  Using only their hips, the teams attempted to get a 6lb ball made of rubber and covered in leather, through a hoop at the top of either side of a wall.  This was a great sport and you wanted to be sure you won.  The captain of the losing team was promptly sacrificed.  Although, apparently this was an understood thing - and an honor.

At the end of our time there, I was reminded how glad I am that I'm living in the 21st century.

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Tenam Puente sign.
Tenam Puente sign.
Largest pyramid at Tenam Puente.
Largest pyramid at Tenam Puente.
Looking down from largest pyramid …
Looking down from largest pyramid…
Looking towards Comitan from Tenam…
Looking towards Comitan from Tena…
Enjoying the history at Tenam Puen…
Enjoying the history at Tenam Pue…
Red colored ruins at Tenam Puente.
Red colored ruins at Tenam Puente.
Smaller sports arena at Tenam Puen…
Smaller sports arena at Tenam Pue…
Comitan de Dominguez
photo by: mrkezn