GVATEMALA – GUATEMALA

Na jezeru Atitlan-Atitlan Lake

Na jezeru Atitlan-Atitlan Lake

Nacionalna ptica kecal-Quetzal the national bird

Nacionalna ptica kecal-Quetzal the national bird

Pod vulkanom-Under the volcano

Pod vulkanom-Under the volcano

Pogled na hramove Maja u Tikalu-A view of Mayan temples in Tikal

Pogled na hramove Maja u Tikalu-A view of Mayan temples in Tikal

Tepih od cveca u Antigvi-A flower carpet in Antigua

Tepih od cveca u Antigvi-A flower carpet in Antigua

Trg u Antigvi s pogledom na vulkan-A square in Antigua with a view of the volcano

Trg u Antigvi s pogledom na vulkan-A square in Antigua with a view of the volcano

Vesela prodavacica suvenira-A merry souvenir vendor

Vesela prodavacica suvenira-A merry souvenir vendor

Hram u Tikalu-The Temple of the Great Jaguar in Tikal

Hram u Tikalu-The Temple of the Great Jaguar in Tikal

Ispred crkve Svetog Tome-In front of the Santo Tomas Church

Ispred crkve Svetog Tome-In front of the Santo Tomas Church

Religiozni skup na obali jezera Atitlan-Religious ceremony on the shores of Lake Atitlan

Religiozni skup na obali jezera Atitlan-Religious ceremony on the shores of Lake Atitlan

Pogled sa brda iznad Antigve-Antigua as viewed from Cerro de la Cruza

Pogled sa brda iznad Antigve-Antigua as viewed from Cerro de la Cruza

Narodna radinost-National craftswork

Narodna radinost-National craftswork

Mali prodavac suvenira-A small souvenirs' vendor

Mali prodavac suvenira-A small souvenirs’ vendor

Na stepenicama crkve u gradicu Cicikastenango-On the stairs of the church in Chichicastenango

Na stepenicama crkve u gradicu Cicikastenango-On the stairs of the church in Chichicastenango

Hram u Tikalu - The Temple of the Great Jaguar in Tikal

Hram u Tikalu – The Temple of the Great Jaguar in Tikal

Katedrala Svetog Josipa-Saint Joseph Cathedral

Katedrala Svetog Josipa-Saint Joseph Cathedral

Muzicari-Marimba musicians

Muzicari-Marimba musicians

Parohijska skola i crkva-Parroquial school and church in Antigua

Parohijska skola i crkva-Parroquial school and church in Antigua

Pogled na vulkan-A view of the Volcano de Aqua

Pogled na vulkan-A view of the Volcano de Aqua

Procesija-A procession

Procesija-A procession

Stara bolnica u Antigvi-Hermano Pedro's Hospital in Antigua

Stara bolnica u Antigvi-Hermano Pedro’s Hospital in Antigua

Ulica u Antigvi-A street in Antigua

Ulica u Antigvi-A street in Antigua

Kada se u nekom filmu idealizuje Meksiko, kao u onom poznatom ostvarenju Pod vulkanom reditelja Džona Hjustona, taj film se skoro po pravilu snima na lokacijama u Gvatemali, posebno u gradiću Antigva, koji se nalazi u podnožju vulkana Agua. On se, u punoj veličini sa svojim snežnim vrhom, vidi iz skoro svake kaldrmisane uličice ovog grada. Njima sporo prolaze male i trome Indijanke u šarenim nošnjama i kapicama, ispod kojih vire duge crne pletenice. Njima prolaze i karnevali posvećeni raznim svecima, kada su potpuno prekrivene tepisima cveća, dok povorka, uz zvuke muzike, prolazi čitavim gradom. Posle ceremonija, veselje se nastavlja do duboko u noć. Čičikastenango i Čimaltenango su imena okolnih sela, koja se teško izgovaraju, ali nikada ne zaboravljaju, jer se i autentičnost okruženja nikada ne zaboravlja. A u takvom okruženju, ispred lokalne katedrale, pruža se velika pijaca na kojoj se prodaju sve indijanske rukotvorine koje se mogu zamisliti, dok je sa svih strana obavija dim stotina upaljenih sveća i tamjana, koji neprestano gore ispred crkvenih vrata.

Obližnje mitsko jezero, Atitlan, okruženo je vulkanskim vrhovima koji se ogledaju u njegovoj modroj vodi, dok se na obali održava misa na otvorenom i stotine vernika, u transu, ponavljaju reči sveštenika. Čamci od trske, uz zvuke panovih frula, prevoze na malo ostrvo u središtu jezera, u kome se vreme zauvek zaustavilo.

To je samo deo juga ove male centralnoameričke zemlje, dok se duboko u džunglama na severu nalazi Tikal, jedno od najvećih svetilišta civilizacije Maja. Osluškivanje džungle, koja se budi sa jednog od vrhova piramida i posmatranje izlaska sunca dok jata papagaja, tukana i ara preleću iznad glave, može se smatrati božanskim osećanjem, verovatno istim kojim su drevni narodi bili prožeti na tom mestu, dok su upijali energiju bogova. A možda je jos lepše, u smiraj dana, popeti se na piramidu uz improvizovane merdevine, ukopane u stogodišnje stablo i držati se za lijane, kada se zaista i nalazite u prebivalištu bogova, na vrhu piramide. Ispod vas je džungla iz koje izviruju vrhovi drugih piramida, dok sunce u vlažnoj izmaglici zalazi iza nekog od njih, a ispred njegove rumene lopte proleće jato gromoglasnih tukana.

Zbog svih tih doživljaja Gvatemala se nikada ne zaboravlja. Zato, na pitanje koje su mi omiljene zemlje, nju uvek navodim među prvima.

Februar 1992.
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When Mexico and its charms are the central theme of a movie, then as a rule of thumb, it is shot in Guatemala, such as Under the Volcano by John Houston, which was shot in a small town of Antigua, situated at the foot of the Volcán de Agua. The volcano, with its snow covered peak, is visible from every little cobbled allyway. Petite Indian women, sluggishly and slowly move down these alleyways, dressed in colorful national costume and hats on their heads, partly revealing long black plaits. These streets are completely covered with flowers during festivals devoted to various saints while processions move around the town to the sound of music. After the ceremony the celebrations continue long into the night. Chichicastenango and Chimaltenango are the names of the neighboring villages, which are difficult to pronounce, but they are unforgettable as much as their authentic surroundings. In this atmosphere, in front of the local cathedral a huge market sprawls, offering all kinds of imaginable handicraft, enveloped by the smoke from hundreds of candles and incense, continuously burning in front of the church doors.

The nearby mythical Atitlan Lake is surrounded by volcanic peaks which reflect themselves in its dark blue water, while on its shores a Mass has gathered hundreds of believers who repeat the priest’s words like in a trance. Accompanied by flute sounds, boats made of reed transport passengers to a small island in the center of the lake, a place where time seems to have stopped for ever.

All this is just part of the Southern area of this small Central American country, whereas in the deep jungle of the North, Tikal, one of the largest sacred grounds of the Mayan civilisation is to be found. Observing sunrise from the top of one of the pyramids, listening to the sounds of the jungle, while flocks of parrots, toucans and macaws fly above your head, gives me a divine feeling, probably similar to the one shared by the ancient peoples  receiving  energy from the gods. Perhaps it is even better to climb to the top of the pyramid at sunset, going up the makeshift ladder which is encased in a hundred year old tree trunk, holding onto vines and actually reaching the divine residence at the top of the pyramid. Below you is the jungle with tops of other pyramids barely showing, and the sun is but a purple ball disappearing behind one of the pyramid tops in the damp mist, a flock of noisy toucans flying across the sunset sky at that very moment.

You just cannot forget Guatemala after all these experiences. So, when I am asked which country is my favorite, I always mention Guatemala among the first.

February 1992

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