Monday, June 20, 2016

Santuario Cañada de la Virgen

On Saturday we went on a little adventure to Santuario Cañada de la Virgen, truly one of the most special spots I've visited in Mexico. Again, I won't go into the whole history since Wikiepedia makes it so easy - click here for their info. But in short, this pyramid was recently discovered - it had been buried under dirt and rocks for a thousand years, and people just thought it was another hill among many hills. It sits on private property, so access is tightly controlled (don't go without a reservation). It has only been open to the public for five years.
The site is only about 20 miles from San Miguel.
You have to ride a government bus to the entrance to this walkway, and then it's still a 20 minute walk to the pyramid. It's quite a journey!

Arriba y arriba! It's hard to believe that this is all private property, apparently belonging to a family from Argentina.
About 100 members of the Otomi people lived here. As Wiki says: "These people used astronomical criteria, religious beliefs and agricultural cycles in selecting the Laja River Valley for the construction of this Pre-Hispanic burial site."

Our awesome Discovery Tours guide Dali, who is from San Miguel and appears to know all there is to know about the entire region. Here he is describing the House of the longest night.” As with other similar archeological sites, this Pyramid and is adjacent gardens were designed to study the constellations and stars. On the longest night of the year - December 21, the winter solstice, the sun would hit a corner of this area perfectly. The entire sight is situated in perfect design with the sun and the moon settings. It's pretty incredible. They would fill this huge area with water, and then study the constellations in the reflection of the water.
Walking along the pyramid. Many pieces of jewelry, pottery and other artifacts were discovered here, along with 19 bodies. It's all currently in storage, awaiting the funds to restore and display them.

We made it! The walk up and down the steps was really precarious, the steps were super narrow. This is at the top of the front part of the pyramid. The shaman as his family would live at the back part, at the highest point. At the time they built the pyramid, an adult Otomi would stand at about four feet tall - shorter than Chloe is now! This site would be so spectacular to visit at night, and view the constellations from the perspective of the Otomis and they architecture. The family that owns the lands does not yet allow nighttime visits - hopefully they'll loosen up soon! What a treasure this is.
It was a big outing and the girls did great, but we were all kind of beat. Somehow we managed to get the girls to rally to walk to the Puertacita for a special treat. They are loving these dolls! This is outside the gate to our house.
The beautiful setting at the Puertacita always seems to inspire our little illustrators....

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