Uxmal, Mexico

Uxmal Travel Blog

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Uxmal piramide

The next morning we left for the long journey from Mérida to Palenque. But not without several sight seeings off course. First thing we visisted Uxmal in the morning. Uxmal is a large pre-Columbian ruined city of the Maya civilization. It is 78 km south of Mérida or 110 km from that city on Highway 261 towards Campeche.

Maya chronicles say that Uxmal was founded about 500 by their leader Hun Uitzil Chac Tutul Xiu. For generations Uxmal was ruled over by the Xiu family, was the most powerful site in western Yucatan, and for a while in alliance with Chichen Itza (which we visited yesterday) dominated all of the northern Maya area.

Uxmal ballcourt
Sometime after about 1200 no new major construction seems to have been made at Uxmal, possibly related to the fall of Uxmal's ally Chichen Itza and the shift of power in Yucatan. The Xiu moved their capital to another place, and the population of Uxmal declined.

Most important sight seeings are the pyramide of the Magician, the big Pyramide,  the government palace (one of the finest of Uxmal's several fine quadrangles of long buildings with elaborately carved façades on both the inside and outside faces), the large Ballcourt for playing the ballgame which an inscription there informs us was dedicated in 901 by the ruler Chan Chak K'ak'nal Ajaw.

Even before the restoration work Uxmal was in better condition than many other Maya sites thanks to being unusually well built. Much was built with well cut stones set into a core of concrete not relying on plaster to hold the building together. The Maya architecture here is considered matched only by that of Palenque in elegance and beauty. Some of the visitors found this the best kept Maya culture from the entire route. Thanks to its good state of preservation, it is one of the few Maya cities where the casual visitor can get a good idea of how the entire ceremonial center looked in ancient times. Uxmal is on the UNESCO list. After the visit we left for the long road which took us to Palenque, which were we arrived after dark.

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Uxmal piramide
Uxmal piramide
Uxmal ballcourt
Uxmal ballcourt
Uxmal panorama
Uxmal panorama
Uxmal piramide
Uxmal piramide
Uxmal
Uxmal
Uxmal old government palace
Uxmal old government palace
Uxmal old government palace
Uxmal old government palace
Uxmal
photo by: Biedjee