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INAH pays protesters, plans to reopen Dzibilchaltún after yearlong conflict

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Dzibilchatún’s temple of the Seven Dolls is one of Yucatán’s most well-known ancient monuments. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

The archaeological site of Dzibilchaltún is set to reopen, this time for good.

This as INAH has agreed to make a payment of 30 million pesos to Chablekal’s ejido to end the conflict once and for all.

But INAH says that there is a good deal of maintenance work to do before the site is able to open its gates once again.

The projected date for Dzibilchaltún’s reopening is Friday, July 22. 

Dzibilchaltún has been closed to the public for roughly a year due to a protracted conflict between the ejido of Chablekal and the federal government.

Protestors set up tents and hung signs last year claiming that the archaeological site belongs to Chablekal’s ejido. Photo: Courtesy

The dispute traces back 62 years when the protestors alleged that the federal government illegally expropriated their ejido lands and declared them federal property.

Under Mexican law, all archaeological sites are considered federal property and are run by the INAH, the agency in charge of safeguarding Mexico’s heritage.

Earlier: Locals of Granada Maxcanú seek the return of ancient Maya relic

But similar disputes between the INAH and local communities remain a problem at several archaeological sites on the Peninsula including Cobá and Dzibanché.

It is unclear if Dzibilchaltún’s above-ground cenote Xlcah will also be reopening, as it has now remained closed since March 2020 when the pandemic hit Yucatán. 

Located roughly halfway between Mérida and the port city of Progreso, Dzibilchaltún is the site of an ancient Maya city settled in the third century BC — placing its foundation in the era referred to by archaeologists as pre-classical. 

In the Yucatec-Maya language, Dzibilchaltún translates as “the place where they wrote on stones.” However, it’s even harder-to-pronounce original name seems to have been Chi’ y Chaan Ti’ Ho.

Aside from its architectural beauty Dzibilchaltún’s Temple of the Seven Dolls is also famous for its sunrise on the spring equinox and summer solstice, during which the sun passes directly through its doorway. 

The sun shines directly through the arch of the Temple of the Seven Dolls in Yucatan, as it rises on the spring equinox. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

This event typically attracts thousands of spectators, many of whom believe the astronomical event to be spiritually invigorating.

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