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A visit to the structures built by the ancient Mayans at Chichén Itzá, on the Yucatán Peninsula.
This travelogue of the Yucatan peninsula on Mexico's southeast coast focuses on Chichén Itzá, the center of the Mayan culture. The Mayans, an advanced and progressive race rivaling the Egyptians and Indians, have resided in the area for more than 1,500 years. Many of the Mayan structures from that era have recently been rediscovered underneath deep jungle growth. One of those structures was used for playing an ancient Mayan ball game called pok ta pok, which was associated with a religious ceremony. The most famous structure is the pyramid of the Mayan God, Kukulkan. Many of the structures have signs of the use of a phonetic system of writing - the only such in the Americas at the time - of mathematics and of astronomy. The origins of the Mayans are unknown but there are many different theories. Some Mayan customs brought down through the ages are described. Juxtaposed against these ancient structure are modern hotels catering to the many tourists to the area.

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    • Author: Golkis
    Shrines of Yucatan (1945)

    *** (out of 4)

    One of the better and more interesting entries from MGM's TravelTalks series with James A. Fitzpatrick. This episode takes us to the Yucatan Peninsula where we learn about the Mayans. The Mayans, of course, became quite popular in recent years especially as the "end of times" was supposed to have been predicted by them. That's what makes this short so interesting to watch because when it was made there really wasn't too much known about their people as scientists were just starting to discover some of their beliefs. Needless to say, there's no mention here about any end of times. What we do learn is that they were considered mathematical geniuses while also being looked at as a progressive race. We also learn about a certain sport that they would play as a religious ceremony and there's also a couple grisly stories about what they did to people to see if they were faithful or a goddess. Fans of the series will no question enjoy the Technicolor look at their ruins but I think its history buffs or Mayan buffs who are going to get the most entertainment out of this. There are several stories told but the most interesting thing is just seeing how much wasn't known not too long ago.
  • Complete credited cast:
    James A. FitzPatrick James A. FitzPatrick - Himself - Narrator (voice)
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