Cancun opens a new Mayan Museum ahead of (or despite) the ‘end of the world’

Cancun opens a new Mayan Museum ahead of (or despite) the ‘end of the world’

After six years of construction, the $15 million museum, the main theme of which is Mayan history, is the new cultural venue in a city famous for its beaches, nightclubs and five-star hotels. The museum is located in the resort's hotel zone.

The museum's main aim is to highlight the mathematical and astronomical skills of the Mayan civilization and features 350 art crafts, some of which have never been publicly displayed.

In the 55,000 square-foot (5,109 square-meter) space visitors can discover pieces such as ‘the woman of the palms', a skeleton that was discovered in 2002 in one of the many underwater caverns in Cancun.

Those visiting Cancun already have plenty of options for learning about the Mayan civilization. About 50 miles (80km) away from the city, tourists can visit Tulum, a former Mayan port. Other archeological sites such as Chichen Itza, site of Kukulkan Pyramid or El Castillo (castle) are just 100 miles (160km) away. This pyramid has been voted as one of the seven new wonders of the world.

The opening of the new museum comes just weeks before the predicted ‘end of the word'. According to some interpretations, the Mayan calendar predicts the end of humanity on December 21.

The Mayan civilization (which flourished between 300 AD to 900 AD) predicted a final event which included a solar shift as well as several earthquakes. According to some interpretations this is supposed to take place on December 21. Some archeologists have contested this prediction, citing instead a transformation and a new era.

The 'end of the world' prediction has put the Mayan region (Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador) in the spotlight. Thousands of tourists are expected to visit the area at the end of the year to either celebrate the new era or mourn the end of humanity. Earlier this year the government of Guatemala announced 95 percent hotel occupancy in main Mayan spots such as Tikal.

Cancun receives around 12 million visitors annually; museum officials are predicting around 1 million visits a year.
Admission for adults is about $5, with free entry for those under 12 and over 60.