The Ancient City of Cantona
One of the most memorable sites we visited in Mexico was the Mesoamerican city of Cantona… The views were incredible from anywhere.
Even after 3 hours of hiking through the ruins, we were told only 2% of the city had been uncovered from the ground. Whether this is an exaggeration or not, we could clearly spot pyramids still underground all around the park.
Why was this site so amazing to me?
The first reason is that it made sense.
Coming from Israel, the city felt like a perfectly organized kibbutz (a closed community in which members lived and worked together, sharing most aspects of life as one group rather than as individuals for the greater good of their community), with little streets separating small neighborhoods, each with inviting common “patios” promoting sharing between the residents. The design of the residential areas was very unusual: the many small neighborhoods were dominated by streets on higher ground so that entering a neighborhood meant stepping down from a set of stairs or another into lower level courts.
The houses were elevated, built on platforms made of stones.
I had never seen anything of the sort and the village life I imagined from the ancient site felt both communal and welcoming.
This leads me to the second reason we fell in love with Cantona: the site was so welcoming partly from its ingenious design but also because nature was everywhere! Trees in the residential courts, plants and cacti in the pyramid and higher quarter areas…
Sure, the site might have looked different back in the days when the city was alive but there was something enchanting and real from the greeneries allowed to grow and mix with the ancient stone structures…
We would have walked the site once more to find more hidden corners… If we weren’t all so hungry!
Cantona likely flourished around the time the famous city of Teotihuacan ceased to be the principal center of power in the (vast) Mexican Plateau.
The city owed its success to its strategic position for the transit of commercial goods as well as to its exploitation of obsidian…
Glen found an obsidian arrowhead on-site and bravely parted from it, handing it to a museum attendant…