Uxmal: An Ancient Maya Marvel

Pyramid of the Magician, unique due to its oval base, is steeped in myth. Its name originates from a folk tale about a magician who built the pyramid overnight.

The oval shape, unusual in Maya architecture, adds to its mystique and allure.

We encountered the Ceiba tree, or Ya’axche in Maya, revered as a symbol of life and connection between the underworld, the earthly realm, and the heavens. In Maya cosmology, it’s considered the tree of life, holding great spiritual significance. Look how straight the trunk of the tree is:

The symbol of Chaac, the Maya rain god, is omnipresent, especially on the corners of the Nunnery Quadrangle. These carvings underscore Chaac’s importance in the Maya culture, symbolizing fertility and rain.

This building that caught our attention was the House of the Governor, where the facade’s design resembles a giant mouth and eyes:

If you look carefully, there are figures that appear to be slaves below the eyes:

Nunnery Quadrangle, composed of four buildings arranged around a central courtyard, captivated us with its intricate façades and detailed carvings. Some believe it was a governmental or administrative center, while others suggest it might have been a palace or a school for training priests and nobles.

The omnipresent carvings of Chaac around the buildings emphasize the significance of the rain god in Uxmal, crucial for agriculture in this rain-scarce region.

Lastly, before we left, we also explored the large Ballcourt, a site for the Mesoamerican ballgame, an important ritualistic and social activity in Maya culture.

Uxmal, a major Maya city of the Late Classic period (600-900 AD), shares intricate cultural and architectural ties with Kabah, evidenced by the sacbé (white road) connecting them. Its rivalry with Chichen Itza, another prominent city, during the Terminal Classic period (800-1000 AD) highlights the dynamic political landscape of the ancient Maya civilization.

Tickets are available on site for about $30 per person. Definitely worth the money to look at these archeological remains.