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San Gervasio


Description

San Gervasio is the largest of the 30 Maya sites found on Cozumel Island. This island has a privileged position on the sea coast trade routes which linked the Yucatan Peninsula from Honduras around to the shores on the Gulf of Mexico.
At the time these ruins were discovered by a Spanish landing party they had already been abandoned. It is likely that the diseases Maya caught following the introduction of Caucasian explorers made the support of a purely religious site such as this untenable. In the alternative, the loss of their native religion by the Maya and the introduction of Christianity may have instead been the reason for the abandonment of this site.
From 1250 A.D. to the time of the Spanish conquest, this port was the hub of the regional sea trade, as well as the destination of pilgrims for the worship of the goddess Ixchel. San Gervasio was the administrative seat of Cozumel and a network of roads, or "sacbés", connected the site with the island's east coast and with nearby coves where merchant canoes put ashore.
Most structures have roofs less than 4 feet (1.2 m) tall and include interior stone walls and exterior columns. Much of the shape of the structures and their roofs remain a mystery as they were enhanced by wood and straw when in their original condition. It is also speculated that further wood and straw huts surrounded many of the buildings, particularly the Plaza Central.

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