Chichen Itza, Mexico - Officials have ordered the demolition of the Chocolate Museum, which is being built by the Choco Story Chichen company in the Chichen Itza archaeological zone "without authorization," the Mexican National Anthropology and History Institute, or INAH, said.
The company has been notified that the project "is improper" and must be demolished, the INAH said in a statement.
Officials determined that the Federal Law on Monuments and Archaeological, Artistic and Historic Zones "does not allow the construction of the museum," the INAH said.
The Belgian-owned company cannot operate the museum in a field in the Chichen Itza zone because it holds "archaeological elements that are part of pre-Hispanic structures," the federal agency said.
The Archaeological Council, a body made up of well-known specialists in the subject field, ruled that the demolition work "must be carried out under the supervision of qualified personnel from the Institute and the archaeological items at the site must be restored," the INAH said.
INAH officials did not say how far along the museum's construction was, but they said they were committed to "protecting Mexico's archaeological heritage under the applicable laws."
|Photo from Choco-Story facebook page|
The Chocolate Museum at Chichen Itza was developed without the proper permits by Belgium's Belcolade even though experts called for the project to be scrapped, media reports said.
Chichen Itza, which was built between 435 and 455, was the center of Mayan civilization between 750 and 1200.Mayan culture developed for about 1,000 years in southeastern Mexico, and extended south into present-day Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.