Archive for the ‘Chimaltenango’ Category
San Juan Comalapa is a small town in the province of Chimaltenango, not more than hour and a half drive from Guatemala City. This town was hard-hit by the civil war that engulfed the country for 36 years. The military outpost on the outskirts of the town was responsible for hundreds or even thousands of crimes committed against the local indigenous people. The people endured this hardship and they express their memories and suffering on a series of murals on the access road to the town.
Aldea -small village- La Soledad, Acatenango, Chimaltenango, Guatemala.
Yesterday I ended up going solo on an spontaneous trip to Volcan de Fuego -Fire Volcano-. I was completely shocked by the beauty of this area of the country. In fact: one can easily mistake these fields with the country side you see when riding the train on Bratagne, France. You got to go see it for yourself: San Miguel Dueñas, Yepocapa, Parramos and all around.
As I have said on AntiguaDailyPhoto.com before, “it is impossible to think of the Guatemalan, Mexican and Mesoamerican diet without maize. From the Popul Vuh (Popol Wuj in modern spelling), the Mayan equivalent of the Bible, which states that humans were literally created from maize, to Miguel Ángel Asturias‘ novel Hombres de maíz (Men of Maize) which is one of the best novels to understand Mesoamerica and its people. Guatemala and Mexico share the birth place of maize, which was and is the most important crop in human history. The richest diversity of maize can be found in Mesoamerica!
Many of the dishes of the Guatemalan cuisine are based on the milpa crops. The term milpa refers normally to a maize field, but it is so much more. In a milpa field there a dozen crops at once: maize, avocados, multiple kinds of squash, chiles (hot pepper chilli), beans, tomatoes, tomatillos, camotes (sweet potatoes), jicama (a tuber also known as sengkwang, yam bean, singkamas, Mexican turnip), amaranth (also called pigweeds) and mucuma (a tropical legume). “Milpa crops are nutritionally and environmentally complementary.” said Charles C. Mann in his book 1491. H. Garrison Wilkes, a maize researcher at University of Massachusetts in Boston is quoted in the same book, “The milpa is one of the most successful human inventions ever created.”
The Mayan ruins of Iximché are located in modern day Tecpán Guatemala. Iximché is one of the few remaining archealogical Mayan sites on the highlands of Guatemala. Mixco Viejo is another Mayan site with ruins. Both were very important at the time of the arrival of the Spaniards.
Here’s part of the entry found at Wikipedia:
Iximche is located 90 kilometres (56 mi) west of Guatemala City, in the northwest of the Guatemalan department of Chimaltenango. The city was built at an altitude of 2,100 metres (7,000 ft) in an easily defensible position on a ridge surrounded by deep ravines, in order to defend the city from its hostile K’iche’ and Tz’utujil neighbors. The ridge is called Ratzamut and is a promontory of Tecpán hill, a 3,075-metre (10,089 ft) high mountain to the northwest of the ruins, which sit at the southeastern end of this promontory. The ridge is flanked by two rivers flowing in deep ravines, Río El Molino and Río Los Chocoyos, which both join to flow southwest into the Madre Vieja River, which empties into the Pacific Ocean. Iximche is located among pine forests common to highland Guatemala.
For many years the Kaqchikel served as loyal allies of the K’iche’ Maya. The growing power of the Kaqchikel within the alliance eventually caused such friction that the Kaqchikel were forced to flee the K’iche’ capital and found the city of Iximche. The Kaqchikel established their new capital upon an easily defensible ridge almost surrounded by deep ravines. Iximche developed quickly as a city and within 50 years of its foundation it had reached its maximum extent. The rulers of Iximche were four principal lords drawn from the four main clans of the Kaqchikel, although it was the lords of the Sotz’il and Xahil clans who held the real power.
After the initial establishment of Iximche, the K’iche’ left the Kaqchikel in peace for a number of years. The peace did not last and the Kaqchikel soundly defeated their former overlords around 1491. This was followed by infighting among the Kaqchikel clans with the rebel clans finally being overcome in 1493. Wars against the K’iche’ continued throughout the early 15th century. When the Spanish conquistadors arrived in Mexico, the Aztec emperor sent messengers to warn the Kaqchikel. After the surrender of the Aztecs to Hernán Cortés, Iximche sent its own messengers to offer a Kaqchikel alliance with the Spanish. Smallpox decimated the population of Iximche before the physical arrival of the Europeans. At the time of the Spanish Conquest Iximche was the second most important city in the Guatemalan Highlands, after the K’iche’ capital at Q’umarkaj. Conquistador Pedro de Alvarado was initially well received in the city in 1524 and the Kaqchikel kings provided the Spanish with native allies to assist in the conquest of the other highland Maya kingdoms. Iximche was declared the first capital of the Kingdom of Guatemala in the same year. Due to excessive Spanish demands for tribute the Kaqchikel soon broke the alliance and deserted their capital, which was burned 2 years later by Spanish deserters… continue reading at Wikipedia