It's The End of the World as We Know It So Get Out Your Camera
If the Mayan calendar is correct, the world is going to end in 2012. That's why tourists have been heading to Tikal, Guatemala, ground zero of the conspiracy set. All this week, Jonathan Franklin and Morten Andersen, the guys behind Addict Village will be looking into the madness behind the newest tourism trend, Doomsday Tourism.
Conspiracy theorists and the History Channel have spent the past five years convincing millions that the Mayan calendar predicts the end of the world. Hollywood just jumped in with the mega-meltdown film, 2012". All of this buzz focuses on a specific date, Dec 21, 2012. This is the mother of all conspiracy theories as the famously accurate Mayan calendar, originating from before Christ, predicts that we are all going to be wiped out in a cataclysmic finale or (in a more optimistic reading) the world as we know it will no longer exist.
Like Nostradamus’ predictions; the Mayan Prophecies have flourished in the internet age. With sophisticated websites explaining the Mayan concepts of time to simplistic websites which do little more than countdown the days hours and minutes till The End.
Different theories abound on what might happen on that fateful December 12, 2012. Will the earth stop spinning? Reverse direction? Get sucked into another galaxy? Or annihilated in nuclear conflagration? With barely two years to go until the final countdown – ignore the mass hysteria and go and check it out for yourself.
Tikal, in Northern Guatemala, was the epicenter of a great Mayan culture that lasted for an estimated 1,300 years. With temples, pyramids and vast road system through the jungles an estimated 150,000 people lived here, then it all collapsed. Known for early development of written words, sports tournaments (in which losers were sacrificed) and astronomy, the Mayan Culture attracts scholars, students and explorers of all ages.
This doomsday message is about to explode as a boom for local tourism, as travelers worldwide begin to investigate the monuments and relics of the Maya. For decades, travelers have been intrigued by these mysteries and visit Tikal, an important center for the Mayan civilization. Like surfers who flock to the shore at the rumours of a tsunami, the allure is tempting: come to Tikal and see the folks who predicted the end of the world, before it's all gone.
“We came here to see what the excitement was, we have read books about the Mayan Calendar, but here you can see how they made these predictions,” said tourist Debbie Long as she and her husband Barry drove a rental car over the dirt roads leading out of Tikal National Park. “That’s what I so love here, that you can see history for yourself.”
· Guatemala Travel [Jaunted]
· 2012 [Official Site]
Text and photo by Morten Andersen.