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Quintana Roo, Mexico

Located on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea, Tulum was a center of Mayan worship of the Descending God.

Trivia Questions about Tulum:

1. The name "Tulum" means:

  1. Fence, trench or wall
  2. Morning or dawn
  3. Toward the stars

2. How is Tulum different from other ancient Mayan cities?

  1. It was the only walled city in the Yucatan.
  2. It was the only Mayan city to worship the Morning Sun.
  3. It was the only Mayan city divided into three social classes: Rulers (priests, astronomers, tradesmen and warriors); Middle Class (ruler's assistants and craftsmen); Lower Class (farmers, fishermen, laborers, and hunters).

3. When Spanish explorers arrived in Tulum in 1518, what city in Spain did it remind them of?

  1. Seville
  2. Toledo
  3. Madrid

(Answers at bottom of this page)


Answers to Trivia Questions about Tulum:

1. (a) Fence, trench or wall.
Tulum, the modern term applied to the site, means fence, trench or wall; however, historians claim its ancient name may have been "Zama", a corruption of the word "Zamal" which means morning or dawn.

2. (a) It was the only walled city in the Yucatan.
Three sides of Tulum are protected by a wall, while the fourth is protected by the sea and a high cliff. Tulum was used as a fortress until 1901, especially during the Mayan rebellion of the 19th century Caste War

3. (a) Seville.
Juan Diaz, a Spanish explorer on Juan de Grijalva's 1518 expedition to the Yucatan wrote, "We followed the coast day and night; on the following day... we sighted a city or town so large that Seville would not have appeared bigger or better... a very tall tower was to be seen there." (The tower is Tulum's El Castillo, a temple situated on the edge of the cliff with two columns portraying serpents.

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