Uxmal the ruined city

Uxmal ©iBimbi/flickr

Uxmal ©iBimbi/flickr

Uxmal is 78 kilometers south of Yucatan and it is a large pre-Columbian ruined city of the Maya civilization. Pronounced like ‘oosh-mahl’ in English, this place has the meaning of ‘Built Three Times’, Uxmal has the most complex examples of the regional Puuc-styled architecture and the magnificent pyramids and structures make it a popular destination.

Uxmal’s Noteworthy Buildings

Some noteworthy buildings are the Governor’s Palace, the Adivino, the Nunnery Quadrangle and the large Ballcourt for playing the Mesoamerican ballgame. The long low building atop a huge platform. Note the longest facades in Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. Mesoamerica is a region and culture area from central Mexico to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. This culture area included advanced cultures and the most complex such as Olmec, Zapotec, Teotihuacan, Mixtec, Totonac, Aztec and of course Maya.

Advino, the Pyramid of the Magician

It is also known as the Pyramid of the Dwarf. Basically it is a stepped pyramid structure. It has layers’ outlines which are oval or elliptical in shape not like the usual rectilinear types. Also the new pyramid was built centered slightly to the east of the older pyramid instead atop the older ones. The preservation of the oldest temples are on the west side. The western staircase faces the setting sun on the summer solstice. From the best-known tales of Yucatec Maya folklore “el enano del Uxmal” or The Dwarf of Uxmal, it sets the basis for its name.

Nunnery Quadrangle and the Ballcourt

The Nunnery Quadrangle was a government palace and the finest of Uxmal’s fine quadrangles of long buildings. It has elaborately carved facades on all its faces, both inside and outside. Ballcourt was dedicated in 901 by Chan Chak K’ak’nal Ajaw, or Lord Chac.

Hieroglyphic Inscriptions

Uxmal ©kalavinka/flickr

Uxmal ©kalavinka/flickr

There are some other monuments such as the North Long Building, the House of the Birds, the House of the Turtles, the Grand Pyramid, the House of the Doves and the South Temple. There are hieroglyphic inscriptions on a series of stone stele unusually grouped together on a single platform. The other notable stelae are Stela C at Tres Zapotes, Izapa Stela 5 and La Mojarra Stela 1. Stela C was carved from basalt with one side showing an Olmec-style engraving with an abstract were-jaguar or a ruler on a throne. The other side an oldest Mesoamerican Long Count calendar. There is also a large raised stone pedestrian causeway that links Uxmal with Kabah.

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