The Castle of Chichen-Itza, 1843, graphic by Frederick Catherwood
“In 1519 Hernan Cortez, the great Spanish conquistador stormed and took the city of Mexico-Tenochtitlan. He did not then, and he never knew, that it was built upon the ruins of the Mayan civilization. Five years later he travelled across what is now the little republic of Honduras, hacking his way foot by foot through an almost impenetrable forest given over to reptiles and insects and the odours of putrefaction. Had he turned aside from the path he was cutting, by only a fraction, he would have come to a little stream where he would have found in the midst of all this luxuriant foliage the ruins of what had once been a great city. It was the city of Copan, the chief light amongst others such as Tikal or Palenque of the Mayan civilization which existed between A.D. 176 and A.D. 620. They are still, far from all other human habitations, lost in the powerful tropical forest which like some sylvan boa-constrictor, has literally swallowed them up and is now devouring them at its leisure, prising the finehewn, close-laid stones apart with its writhing roots and tendrils.”
John Stewart Collis in “The Vision of Glory, The extraordinary Nature of the Ordinary”
Main Front of the Palace of the Nuns, Chichen-Itza 1859, graphic by Désiré Charnay
Is this really the rotten one-way road to the final Battle of Aleppo as predicted by the famous visionary Nostradamus? The burst bitumen crust opens the horizon to a presumably never ending no-man’s-land where dark water is flooding everywhere over pavements and former roads while emphatic barricades turn out to be the only guiding signs leading through this Levantine forbidden zone. Some idiotic good-for-nothing fighters must have bombed and destroyed the gigantic Tabqua dam subsequently depleting the inexhaustible water storage reservoir of Lake Assad into this new endless stretching marshy swampland. Here and there you can intensely observe ludicrous ruins and industrial facilities slowly sinking in greedy dark ponds – the latest ecological niche. Bloody water suddenly sucks in my highly stressed body like a maelstrom, thus I have to make up my mind so as to escape ultimately this wargame-zeitgeist. Eons later I will eventually reach exhausted but just in time the untold concrete-island of hope and its graceful bastion of dreamy virtual promises.