Uxmal is a majestic
archaeological site located 23 km from
Kabah by the federal highway 261 in the State of Yucatan, Mexico.
located in the Santa Elena Valley to the south of the Pucc hill country
in the southwestern part of the Yucatan Peninsula. The zone was first
settled in 500 B.C., but it wasn't until the ninth and twelfth centuries
A.D. that it became the seat of Mayan political and economic power in
the Puuc region.
estimated that a population of around twenty-five thousand inhabitants
was distributed throughout a territory of 37.5 square kilometers with
enormous agricultural potential, but lacking in permanent water sources.
For this reasons the Mayas constructed chultunes, or underground
cisterns, and complex drinking water system, including aguadas and
bukteoobob for the utilization of rainwater.
architecture at Uxmal is one of the most authentic examples of the Puuc style. Decorative features such as the three-dimensional masks of
the god Chaac, colonnades, the two-headed jaguar, and other iconographic
symbols demonstrate Uxmal's position in the most important cultural and
commercial circuits of the Maya Classic Era.
civic-administrative area occupies an area of one kilometer from north
to south and .6 kilometer from east to west. The place-type structures
are arranged around courtyards, forming quadrangles. The decoration is
among the richest and most varied of all the archaeological zones,
including representations of god, animals, dignitaries, and geometric
forms. There are also residential structures in the surrounding area.
No doubt, Uxmal is considered as
the most splendid archaeological site from the Pre Hispanic era on the American Continent
because of the proportions of its majestic constructions decorated with delicate
embossment, which are carved with elegance and precision, astounding both, scientific
community and visitors, since the Mayan builders had neither metal tools nor detectable
means of transportation.
Its foundation date is
still undetermined, but archaeologists rough estimates indicate that it was between the
fifth and sixth centuries AD. Its cultural development, considered classic, demonstrates
a certain similarity to that of
Chichen Itza but shows none of the latter's Toltec influence.
The indigenous chronicles written after the Spanish
Conquest name Ahcuitok Tutul Xiu as Uxmal's founding leader.
Please bear in mind that most place names
were assigned to the various structures by the Spaniards. The name
Uxmal was provided by the
Mayans in their decadent period.
Uxmal is divided in three
sections, which are:
The Magician's Pyramid, located at the entrance to the site. This
colossus stone is the result of five superimposed stages of building, crowned by a temple
at the summit, from which you can contemplate the full grandeur of Uxmal
The Nun's Quadrangle, so called since the Conquest for its
similarity to a convent; comprised of four large structures resting on an artificial
platform and surrounding a grand central square, 75mts long by 45mts wide. Decorated
with god masks, jaguars, owls and human figures. This is the stage in which takes place
the light and sound show.
This name was given to the VVIIth. century. It
is comprised of four palaces placed at different levels, which surround
Its construction dates from around 900-1000 A.D. The facades
offer a rich combination of decorative motifs such as lattice-work,
colonnades, huts, masked representations of the Rain God, Two-headed
serpents, owls, Symbols of the planet Venus, geometrical elements, human
figures, naked or tied up, either sitting or standing. Quite conspicuous
are the representations Tlaloc, The Rain God of Central Mexico.
The Ballgame Court
The Cemetery Group
The Temple of the
The Soothsayers House,
The name of this
building comes from a Mayan legend known as "The Legend of the Goblin of
Uxmal". The building is about 35 meters high and shaped like a truncated
cone. Up till known, five different construction phases, each with a
distinctive style have been discovered.
These modifications were
undertaken so as to satisfy the functional and religious need of each
ensuing period. To the Westerly side one can observe Temples 1, 3, 4 and
5 which are dated between the VIIIth. century and 1050 A.D.
Towards the East lies the access to Temple 2, which dates from the
VIIIth. century as does the aforementioned Temple 5.
UXMAL SOUTH ZONE
The Quadrangle of the
The Great Pyramid
The Governor's Palace. Built on a stepped
platform 97.5mts long
by 8mts wide and 8mts high; supposedly, the residence of the most important members
of the ruling class.
The visual effect of movement produced by the rain-god masks
jutting out from the friezes is extraordinary, as well as the filigree formed by over
twenty thousand mosaics on the facade is remarkable.
The House of the
This building is
30 mts. long and 10 mts. wide and is comprised of seven recincts. The
decoration is sober and its smooth lower walls contrast with the
colonnades that decorate the upper facade, where, throughout the length
of the cornice, one can observe sculptures of turtles, who were
important animals due to there association with rain and the Earth
cycles. This temple was most surely dedicated to Aquiatic Cult. The
architectural style corresponds to the later phase of Flourishing Puuc
or Late Uxmal (900 - 1000 A.D.)
The Old Lady's House
The Temple of the
The Chimez House
Mask of Chac, the
The Pillory Shrine.
This shrine is
built upon a square pedestal. There is a truncated cone - shaped
monolith emplaced in the center which appears to have been stuccoed and
upon which hieroglyphs and symbolic ornamentation were painted. Besides
that, it is also known as the Flogging Block. There is, of course, a
simplified version in which the stone represents the Central Tree (
"Axis Mundi"), the Ya' axche Cab. which is mentioned in Maya Mythology.
Everything indicates that it was built around the same time as the
Throne of the Jaguar.
Each side of the
platform is 4.85 meters long and 1.20 meters high. It has steps on al
four sides. A sculpture of a Two Headed jaguar, which served as a
throne, is placed in the middle. Diggings made between 1951 - 52 made
its restoration possible and also brought to light a valuable offering
from its interior. 913 pieces were found, including beads, pectorals,
Jade earring, earthenware, Cornaline, polished black stone, spear heads,
and Flint and Obsidian knives.
Great Pyramid, or Temple of the Macaws.
pyramid is made up of nine sections, built on different levels;
the upper part known as the Temple of the Macaws because these tropical
birds are depicted in the decoration, together with ornamental frets and
fillets with entwined snakes, grotesque animal mask. etc. This pyramid
probably dates to the mid 8th Century.
UXMAL NORTH ZONE
Archaeological zone: From
8 to 17 hrs.
Museum: From 8 to 17 hrs.
Light & Sound Show in
Winter Hour: 19 hrs.
Summer Hour: 20 hrs.
*You can rent simultaneous translation equipment for English, French, Italian and German;
also Mayan translations are available.
Uxmal you can find
excellent hotels and tourism services.
Caverns of Loltun
Dzibilchaltun Archaeological Site
Dzilam de Bravo
Ekbalam Archaeological Site
Labna Archaeological Site
Mayapan Archaeological Site
۞ Capital City
Oxkintok Archaeological Site
Sayil Archaeological Site
Xlapak Archaeological Site
The Paths of the Mayab
Home page of Yucatan
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