Matthew O'Neil is a Sydney-based journalist with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. This piece was originally shared to The Spaces
Walking among the concrete structures sprawled throughout the steamy La Huasteca rainforest, there is a sense that you've stepped into an Escher painting: a world of impossible objects that baffle and elude the mind.
But there are other influences too.
The wavy features and warped columns that adorn the serpentine paths, platforms and waterways owe much to the surrealist artwork of Yves Tanguy and Andre Bréton.
This is Las Pozas ("the pools"), a labyrinthine arrangement of buildings, sculptures and trails, interlaced by natural streams and waterfalls, and spread out over more than 20 acres of lush tropical jungle.
It is the creation of Edward James, an eccentric British poet and philanthropist, known for his patronage of Surrealist artists, including Salvador Dalí and René Magritte. It is a magical place.
Construction took place between 1949 and 1984.
It cost roughly $5 million to build, and required the labor of a small town. To pay for his project, James was forced to auction off his extensive collection of Surrealist art. But it was an investment well made.
He spent long periods of time at Las Pozas throughout the rest of his life, bathing in its pools, writing poetry and tending to his collection of exotic plants and animals.