Uxmal, (Built Three Times)
Uxmal Travel Blog› entry 32 of 39 › view all entries
Uxmal, (Built Three Times), (Yucatec Maya: "oxmáal), is a large Maya site located 34 miles south of Mérida on Highway 261. Many buildings have been consolidated and restored. Currently little in the way of serious archeological excavation and research has been done at Uxmal. Accurate dates of occupation are not known. The population is estimated to have reached 25,000. Most visible architecture is estimated to have been built between 600 AD and 1100 AD. Uxmal was founded by Hun Uitzil Chac Tutul Xiu around 500 AD. The Xiu family controlled Uxmal until after the Spanish arrival. Sometime after 1200 AD all new monumental construction ended at Uxmal.
It should be noted that before archaeologists began restoration and consolidation activities that Uxmal was in better condition than most other Maya sites because of superior construction materials, engineering, experience of the labor force and work ethic.
The Palace of the Governor is a long low building erected on a huge platform, it is the longest facade in Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica.
The Adivino "Pyramid of the Magician" is unusual in several ways. First the perimeter shape is oval, rather than the usual rectangular or square shape. It was a common practice in Mesoamerica to build new temple pyramids directly over older ones, however, the last construction phase of the Adivino (117 feet tall) was built slightly to the east of the older pyramid, so that on the west side the temple the old pyramid is visible. The Nunnery Quadrangle (A name applied by the Spanish; is thought to be the seat of the government. It is the finest example elaborately carved facades. Both the inside and outside faces of each of the four buildings of this quad have the carved mosaic applied to the upper portions of each. There are 74 small rooms contained in the four buildings that suraround the courtyard.
The majority of all of the hieroglyphic inscriptions present at Uxmal are on a series of stone stelae. These stelae are grouped together on a single platform. The stelae depict the ancient rulers of the city, and all show signs that they were deliberately broken and toppled in antiquity. Some of the stelae were re-erected and repaired. There are remains of a hastily constructed defensive wall which may have encircled most of the central ceremonial center. There is a wide Sacbe (white road) that links Uxmal with the Kabah, that is about 12 miles to the south.
The first detailed account of Uxmal was published by Jean Frederic Waldeck in 1838. John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood visited Uxmal twice in the early 1840s. Désiré Charnay took a series of photographs of Uxmal in 1860. In 1863 Empress Carlota of Mexico visited Uxmal. Prior to her visit some statues and architectural elements depicting phallic themes were removed. Sylvanus G. Morley visited to make a site map in 1909. Beginning id 1927 the Mexican government began their consolidation project.