NBC News and Fox News reported in August that Google has chosen to highlight Mexico’s ancient Mayan ruins by expanding its Street View offerings to include a number of 360-degree photo tours of ancient Mayan monuments in Mexico. Sites include Chichen Itza,Tulum,Teotihuacan,Monte Alban and Palenque and there will now be dozens of interactive images of these and other pre-Hispanic ruins on the Google Maps website.
“Google Mexico and Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) announced Thursday that 30 sites have been added to Street View and dozens more will be coming online this year,” reported Fox News.
The goal is to eventually include 90 sites in the offering,allowing users to click on the map locations to view 360-degree,interactive images that are created using millions of photographs that were taken at ground level. The new feature coincides with Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s “Mundo Maya” initiative,which was launched in 2011 to celebrate the coming end of the Mayan calendar in December of 2012. Ruins located at Mexico real estate throughout the entire country will now be visible to viewers from around the world,drawing even more attention to Mexico’s rich cultural heritage.
“The additions are aimed at helping Mexico ‘open a window to the world,to encourage physical visits to the pre-Hispanic sites and thus in turn benefit cultural tourism,’ Miguel Angel Alva,director of marketing for Google Mexico,said in an announcement from INAH,” according to NBC News.
The virtual tours also include Chichen Itza’s El Castillo in the Yucatan,which is also known as the Temple of Kukulkan. This Mayan pyramid was built more than one thousand years ago and features an impressive staircase that was designed to create a shadow resembling a feathered serpent during the spring and autumnal equinoxes.
Also in the Riviera Maya,the walled Mayan city of Tulum is now featured on Google Maps. Situated on the Yucatan Peninsula’s Caribbean coast,this site dates back to the 13th century and was still a vital trading center when the Spanish arrived during the early part of the 16th century. Today,the ruins of Tulum have become a popular vacation destination and the city itself is thriving once again as a modern resort town.