LOST CITIES IN THE JUNGLE

Chichen_Itza_Castillo_Frederick Catherwood_1843_drawingThe 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”

Façade_principale_du_palais_des_Nonnes_Désiré Charnay_1859AMain Front of the Palace of the Nuns, Chichen-Itza 1859, graphic by Désiré Charnay

ABANDONED DREAMINGS

In the desert nearly everywhere you easily risk to loose your way in a more or less forbidden zone vanished in the unpredictable stream of time. Here or there does not really matter distinctively because a lost place like this offers a special poetry of past developments and decay, sometimes a bit dangerous but in any case thrilling and amazing.

Since the times of the Romantic people are fascinated by such forgotten locations like old church ruins or dilapidated castles scattered over the countries. Certainly these are objects and artefacts without use, hence not useless at all while this confrontation with the past opens a wide space for dreams of another future.

The deindustrialization of modern metropoles has nowadays created a lot of postmodern ruins like closed factories from the 19th century or no longer required railway facilities. But nature covers again very quickly also former military installations with impenetrable thickets and trees. Legacies of former inhabitants and colorful tags of passers-by can there be found anyway.

By first glance such places seem to be a dead-end leading to nowhere and it takes some energy to find a secure path sometimes, however astonishingly people leave even here professions of profound love in a wild maze of pure neglection.

 

Thanks for following this short expedition to the contemporary abysmal maelstroms of daily life – to be continued.

 

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