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Most sites do not have vending machines, stores or restaurants. If you want to eat you must bring your own food. Some sites have picnic tables for this.

I N A H

Mexican Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (National Institute of Anthropology and History known as INAH for its Spanish abbreviation) is the federal government bureau established in 1939 to guarantee the research, preservation, protection, and promotion of the prehistoric, archaeological, anthropological, historical, and paleontological heritage of Mexico.

This bureau is responsible for the over 110 thousand historical monuments, built between the 16th and 19th centuries, and for 29 thousand archaeological zones found all over the country, although is it estimated there must be 200 thousand sites with archaeological remains. Of these 29,000, 150 are open to the public.





MUSEUMS IN THE YUCATAN PENINSULA

One would imagine that the Yucatan Peninsula would abound with museums filled with magnificent objects. This is however not the case as years of looting have seen most of the objects found sold to foreign collections or moved to Mexico City. The Mexican government is opposed to this practice and you could end up in jail attempting to smuggle or even purchase antiquities illegally. Playa del Carmen

Vincent Price, the deceased actor was the worlds leading collector of Mayan antiquities. His collection resides somewhere in the United States. Apparently there is present litigation involving the collection or parts of it.

There is a national consciousness now regarding saving their heritage that has not always been prevalent. In fact a couple of years ago [in Chiapas] armed locals approached a science team when they attempted to move a stela from a remote site. The locals laid claim to the stela and the scientists who were taking the stela to the national museum in Mexico City were forced to flee for their lives.

What does exist is worth seeing and the museums are by no means something to miss. Simply by visiting you are expressing your interest and your admission fee goes towards supporting the efforts of the museums, always strapped for money.

The majority of information signs at the museums is in Spanish with very little English.

NOTE

You are not allowed to use a flash when photographing in any museum containing Mayan artifacts. If you do, you will get caught and an attendant will scold you, and then follow you around with a mean scowl on their face, right up until you leave.



CANCUN MUSEUMS

Name:Museo de Antropologia e Historia
Location:South side of the Centro de Convenciones in the Zona Hotelera.
Visit Time:1 hr
Of Interest:Jewelry, skulls and other interesting artifacts.



MERIDA MUSEUMS

Merida has 2 museums to visit and a zoo that contains 3 specimens of the Yucatan Rattle Snake. If you stay downtown near the main-square you are within walking distance to all 3 locations.

Name:Museo Regional de Antropologia
Location:Located on the corner of Paseo de Montejo and Calle 43.
Visit Time:1 hr
Of Interest:There are copper and bronze items here.

Name:Museo Nacional de Arte Popular
Location:Located on Calle 59 between Calles 48 and 50.
Visit Time:1/2 hr - 1 hr
Of Interest:There are many traditional Maya garments as well as ceremonial masks.

Name:Parque Centenario
Location:Calle 61 and Avenida de los Itzaes
Visit Time:1 - 3 hrs
Of Interest:Has a zoo with 3 Yucatan Rattlesnakes.


Enterance to Parque Centenario where the zoo is located.



DZIBILCHALTUN MUSEUM DZIBILCHALTUN MUSEUM

Dzibilchaltun ruin site has a small museum, which is worth visiting. There are a number of large statues of ballcourt players and other fascinating objects.



CHICHEN ITZA MUSEUM

Chichen Itza ruin site has a small museum containing some interesting artifacts.



XCARET MUSEUM

Xcaret has a number of models of ruin sites, which gives you a good vantage point to see the layouts as opposed to a map. There is also a recreation of a Mayan family residence on a stream which you swim by and view the habitation from the water. This is a lot of fun. Xcaret is located in the Maya Riviera between Tulum and Playa del Carmen.



CAMPECHE MUSEUMS

There are 2 museums in Campeche. One is right at the main-square of Campeche City. It contains a large number of steleas. There is no sign at the entrance indicating there is a museum there and you have to either simply stumble in or know it is there. The second museum is a short distance away [4-km] but is cumbersome to get to. The best thing to do is to take a taxi, there and back. There is also a small display of model Spanish ships and a dungeon located in the most southern baluarte on the coast, which is a 10-minute walk from the main-square.

Name:Museo de Estelas Maya
Location:On the north side of Plaza Moch-Cuouh at the Baluarte de la Soledad.
Visit Time:1/2 hr
Of Interest:Contains many real steleas.

Name:Fuerte de San Miguel
Location:4 km south of Plaza Moch-Cuouh along the coast road with a 1 km walk up a hill from Avenida Escenica.
Visit Time:1 hr
Of Interest:Lots of fine pottery here.



CHETUMAL MUSEUMS

There is an interesting museum in Chetumal. It is high-tech and contains a number of computer based multimedia exhibits. There are also a number of excellent models of temples and buildings.

Name:Museo de la Cultura Maya
Location:Located on Acenida de los Heros between Colon and Avenida Gandhi.
Visit Time:1 hr
Of Interest:This museum has many casts of steleas and models of temples. It has a reconstruction of the Bonampak tomb.

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MAYA TRIVIA

Today's Maya number more than six million, are divided in to many differnt ethnic groups and speak more than 30 distinct indigenous languages.

Natural wells are called cenotes from the Mayan word dsonoot.

The Maya describe the Yucatan as "u luumil cutz, u luumil ceh, mayab u kabah" - the land of the pheasant, the land of the deer and Mayab is its name.

The word puuc means "hilly country" in the Maya language of the Yucatec.

The first three rows of a Mayan corn field were for travelers.

True windows are rarely found in Maya architecture.

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