‘Are you stupid?’: Tourist attacked after climbing steps of forbidden pyramid in Mexico

Polish tourist hit with a stick by bystander and berated by another for ascending Mayan temple

Maroosha Muzaffar
Tuesday 31 January 2023 14:06 GMT
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From the archives: Guatemalans turn to Mayan laws to obtain justice

A Polish tourist who attempted to climb a Mayan temple in Mexico was hit on the head with a stick by a bystander and berated by another before eventually being detained.

It is forbidden to climb the stairs of the pyramid of Kukulkan, also known as El Castillo, located at the site of an ancient city called Chichen Itza that falls under the Tinum Municipality in the Yucatán state.

A video that went viral on Twitter showed the tourist being taken away from the Mexican landmark by two officials and beaten with a stick by an onlooker at the base of the pyramid on Saturday.

Another onlooker can be heard screaming “Are you stupid?” at the tourist.

The workers proceeded to control the man. The tourist was also detained for up to 12 hours, according to reports.

The Pyramid of Kukulkan is protected by local law and the Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).

Even though fines for trespassers who attempt to climb the Unesco heritage site can reportedly range from $1,800-9,000, the tourist was fined $412 for the transgression, a spokesperson for INAH was quoted as saying by the Mexico Daily Post.

“Tourists must respect the security measures of the INAH in the archaeological zone to preserve the cultural heritage of Mexico, take care of other visitors and enjoy that Mayan legacy,” the spokesperson said.

Chichen Itza is home to a number of architectural and natural wonders, including El Castillo, the Great Ball Court, the Temple of the Warriors, the Sacred Cenote and more. It has also been one of the new seven wonders of the world since 7 July 2007, according to Unesco.

Penalties have been issued since 2008 for those attempting to climb up the pyramid as it is a pre-historic structure that needs conservation.

One social media user who was identified as Meredith by local media posted the video on Twitter. She said he had ignored all signages that clearly state that climbing the steps is banned and that the tourist also ignored rope barriers.

According to the Chichen Itza website, the pyramid sits on a rectangular platform 182ft wide and with a height of 78ft.

“Precision and intention are part of the essence of the building, each side of the pyramid has a large staircase, 91 steps per side and one more leading to the upper temple, giving 365 steps, one per day of the year.”

In November last year, a woman, reportedly from Tijuana, was mobbed by a crowd for climbing to the top of the pyramid. She was led through a jeering crowd that tugged at her hair and threw items at her.

In 2021, a woman was dubbed “Lady Kukulcan” and fined for spreading her husband’s ashes on the great pyramid.

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