As long as trav­el to exot­ic coun­tries is risky or impos­si­ble, we do not waste time. After all, thanks to books with aug­ment­ed real­i­ty from DEVAR, you can even go to the past! Which route to choose? In May — to the Maya!

We dived into the depths of cen­turies and share with you five amaz­ing facts about the life and beliefs of an ancient civ­i­liza­tion.

Fact num­ber 1. “Fly­ing trea­sure”

The Maya con­sid­ered the sacred bird Quet­zal — it per­son­i­fied the god of air. It was good luck to see the Quet­zal. The feath­ers of this bird were val­ued by the ancient Maya more than gold and jew­el­ry. Until now, this bird is called the “Fly­ing Trea­sure”. Indeed, the com­mod­i­ty that most enriched the moun­tain­ous regions of the Maya “trapeze” were, odd­ly enough, the tail feath­ers of the quet­zal. Now the free­dom-lov­ing quet­zal bird is the nation­al sym­bol of free­dom in Guatemala. The nation­al cur­ren­cy of this coun­try was named in her hon­or.

Fact num­ber 2. The cre­ator of the world and its destroy­er

Tez­catlipoca is the god of fate and good luck, the patron saint of priests, the lord of the stars, win­ter and cold, the lord of the ele­ments, pun­ish­ing crim­i­nals. He per­son­i­fied the air nec­es­sary for breath­ing and life, and at the same time the wind fan­ning the fire. He is the cre­ator of the world and its destroy­er. It is the face of Tez­catlipoca that is at the cen­ter of the famous Aztec stone cal­en­dar.

Fact #3. Rit­u­al games

The game of ball for the ancient Maya was not fun, it was of a rit­u­al nature. The ball in the game sym­bol­ized the Sun, and the teams — the strug­gle of day and night. The game could be played by two teams or two play­ers. It was played with a large and heavy rub­ber ball. Accord­ing to the rules, the ball could not be hit with the feet or hands — only with the elbows, knees, back, hips and but­tocks. In the clas­si­cal peri­od, kings includ­ed the epi­thet “ball play­er” in their title. They built sta­di­ums to com­mem­o­rate vic­to­ries, played to sup­port their allies in war, and to strength­en their own pow­er.

Fact #4. Sav­ing Pump­kins and Frog Ser­vants

Chak is one of the most impor­tant Mayan gods, since the har­vest depend­ed on the sav­ing rain. Accord­ing to leg­end, Chuck is the god of rain, thun­der and light­ning. In his house, at the four cor­ners, lined up along the car­di­nal points, there are four large pump­kins filled with water, from which he pours mois­ture onto the Earth. Frogs serve him, croak­ing announc­ing the upcom­ing rain.

Fact num­ber 5. The axis of the world and the secrets of the soul

Cei­ba is a sacred tree of the Mayan peo­ple, it was around it that the Mayans built their set­tle­ments. They con­sid­ered cei­ba to be the axis around which the world revolves, and called it the “world tree”. In Maya art, the Heav­en­ly Bird, a sym­bol of the pri­mor­dial world and flight, was often depict­ed on the top of the tree, and the gods sat on the branch­es of the cei­ba. The branch­es of the tree are the sky, the realm of the gods. The trunk is our world. The roots go to the depths of the earth, so the secrets hid­den from the whole world are avail­able to the cei­ba, includ­ing the secrets of the human soul.

Trav­el with us! Look for oth­er inter­est­ing facts in the aug­ment­ed real­i­ty books Maya: Mys­ter­ies and Lega­cy and Maya: Leg­ends of Civ­i­liza­tion. After all, man­dalas, mytho­log­i­cal heroes and … col­or­ing books come to life in them to the sounds of eth­nic music. Such is the mix of lost civ­i­liza­tions and mod­ern achieve­ments.