Uxmal (“built three times”) – the ruins of one of the once large and prosperous cities, located in the northwest of the Yucatan Peninsula. Surrounded on all sides by tropical forests, Uxmal, along with Chichen Itza and Palenque, is the center of attraction for researchers of the mysterious Mayan culture.
Entrance ticket – 413 MXN. The complex is open to visitors from 8:00 to 17:00.
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History and culture
Little is known about the early history of the city. Between the 7th and 10th centuries A.D. e. Uxmal was the main religious and ceremonial center in the Puuc Hills. At the end of the 10th century, the city was captured by the Tutul Shiv tribe, after which it participated in the wars with Chichen Itza and Mayapan for political dominance in the Yucatan. After the 11th century, life in the city froze.
Uxmal gained wide popularity in the 19th century, after its ruins were first studied by archaeologists. In 1929, active work began on the restoration and study of the city.
How to get to Uxmal
There are buses from Merida to Uxmal. The distance between cities is 68 km.
When planning your trip, keep in mind that on Saturdays and Mondays, buses in this direction are usually overcrowded.
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There are several hotels in the immediate vicinity of the excavation site. All of them are about the same level and relatively expensive, but they offer quite a decent service.
The Lodge at Uxmal 5 *, the cost of living in the high season (March-April) in which it reaches 3300 MXN, and from May to October it drops to 3000 MXN. Hacienda Uxmal 4 * offers rooms for 1700 MXN in March-April and 1380 MXN from May to October. At Uxmal Resort Maya 4 * you can find shelter for 770 MXN throughout the year. Also, one of the budget rooms is in Casa del Mago (770-980 MXN).
Various souvenirs and gifts can be bought in shops and at the stalls of merchants at the entrance to the complex.
Entertainment and attractions in Uxmal
The highest on the territory of the complex is the Pyramid of the Wizard (“Dwarf’s House”) – 38 m, it consists of 5 temples, erected one on top of the other. Such a structure is typical for many religious buildings of the Maya. The pyramid is designed in such a way that its western staircase is directly under the sun during the summer solstice.
Climbing the stairs is a real test – it is very steep and consists of countless steps that become narrower towards the top.
According to legend, the pyramid was built by a dwarf wizard in just one night. The pyramid is richly decorated with masks of the god of rain and fertility, Chak, whose image is present in the elements of all the buildings of Uxmal. It was especially not by chance that he was honored here – there are no rivers or springs in the area, and water could be stored only during rain.
Next to the pyramid is a complex of four buildings located at right angles to each other – the Convent. This name was given to the quadrangle by the Europeans who first visited here: in the buildings there are a total of 74 rooms resembling cells, with windows facing inward. According to the assumptions of archaeologists during the Maya, there was a military school or school here.
The palace of the rulers, called by Mayan researchers “the culmination of the architectural style of Puuc”, is located on an artificially erected terrace 8 meters high. In front of the stairs leading up, directly to the palace, there is a stone statue, “the throne of the two-headed jaguar”. The upper part of the building is covered with a mosaic of more than 20,000 stone tiles. The main “hero” of the facade is the omnipresent god of rain.
To the southeast of the palace is a small complex known as the Casa de la Vieja. In front of him is a small hut, sheltering several huge phalluses carved from stone.
The building, known as the “Old Witch’s House” does not make the best impression, as it consists of a pile of stones, crudely molded with cement – an attempt to restore the fifth “reincarnation” of the temple. From the previous, fourth, building, there was an entrance on the western wall of the building, which is the mouth of a huge image of Chuck.
The Great Pyramid has a base of 100 by 70 meters and rises to 30 meters. The “House of the Turtles” got its name from the images of these animals carved on the cornice. According to Mayan legend, during a drought, turtles suffered as well as people, and together with them they sent their prayers to the rain god Chaku. A frieze of small columns encircling the building is a characteristic element of the Puuk style.
There is a small museum at the entrance to the complex, as well as a snack bar.
During the season in Uxmal, the scorching sun shines almost all day, so be sure to bring a hat and sunglasses with you. Comfortable shoes will also come in handy.
In the evenings, Uxmal is lit up with multi-colored lights of a light and music performance – a bewitching spectacle that logically completes the journey to this mysterious and enigmatic place.