Quick introduction to Uxmal

A quick introduction to Uxmal

Table of Contents

Uxmal is surrounded by legends, myths and anecdotes; poetic in its name and its history. The occupation of Uxmal dates back to 500 BCE., but it was a political and economic power in the Mayan Peninsula Puuc region during IX and XII centuries. The name Uxmal comes from the Mayan Óoxmáal and means “three times built” or “three harvests”.

Uxmal was declared a world heritage site by Unesco in 1996, and it’s considered one of the most important archaeological sites in the Mayan Peninsula.

It is located in the valley of Santa Elena, 62 kilometers from Mérida in the region known as Puuc, which means “hills” in Mayan, and it’s made up of 15 groups of buildings around courtyards known as the civic-administrative area, which is walled and occupies an area of 1 km from north to south and .6 km from east to west.

Uxmal Architecture

The main buildings are the Pyramid of the Magician, the Nunnery Quadrangle, the Governor’s Palace, as well as the Great Pyramid.

Its architecture is one of the most authentic examples of Puuc style, some decorative elements such as the masks of the god Chaac, columns, the two-headed jaguar and other iconographic symbols make Uxmal one of the most important cultural and commercial circuits of the classical period. It has one of the richest and most varied decorations in the Mayan Peninsula, being representations of gods, animals, characters and geometric shapes; there are also residential buildings in the vicinity.

Uxmal Agriculture

Agriculture was one of the main occupations of Uxmal’s population, but since they had no permanent water supply, they had to build hydraulic systems to collect and conserve drinking water. These systems were known as Chultun (cisterns).

Uxmal and the Puuc Route

Uxmal is the most visited, and one of the best examples of the Puuc Architectural Style but near this Archeological Site, we can also find other Sites that have the same style and that were important Mayan cities such as: Kabáh, Sayil, X-Lapak, Labná and Oxkintok where you can find fully restored structures, others in restauration process and some even covered with trees and dense vegetation.

Uxmal territory
Uxmal territory


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