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A beautiful cavernous pool, Cenote Samula is one of the more scenic freshwater cenotes on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Characteristic to Mexico, cenotes are naturally formed pits, created when limestone rock caves in to expose these underground pools. A geological wonder with naturally formed stalactites and stalagmites, Yucatan cenotes were sacred places in Mayan culture, and are still considered a treasure today. Read more
In Merida, the capital of the Mexican state of Yucatan, a region rich with Maya sites, the biggest headlines on December 21 didn’t come as a result of the much-hyped end of the world, but with a visit from Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, who inaugurated the recently opened Great Maya World Museum.
The museum, whose modern structure has more than 6,000 tons of steel – an Eiffel Tower’s worth, in fact – features a comprehensive look at Maya culture through the centuries, including how modern-day Maya continue to live.
So for any Maya-philes who didn’t make it to the Mundo Maya during the much-hyped buildup of 2012, which culminated with the end of the Maya Long Count calendar on the winter solstice, here’s another reason to schedule a visit in 2013. Just make sure you give yourself plenty of time, as the museum spans more than 2,200 square meters of permanent and temporary exhibits. Read more
While it’s the phenomenal feats of mere mortals that comprise our list of man-made wonders, actually seeing them in person is nothing short of divine. Little surprise, given that many of our favorite creations were designed with a heavenly audience in mind, whether in the depths of a Cambodian jungle, on an Athenian or Peruvian hilltop, or deep in a Mexican peninsula. While a list of this sort could easily cover just ancient wonders like these, we’ve left room for modern and contemporary marvels, too, picking a good dose of both, on homegrown soil and as far away as Asia, while also looking to the future – and pegging a cutting-edge city with the promise of wonders still to come.
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