Kabáh Strong Hand

Kabah Travel Blog

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Kabáh "strong hand" (also spelled Kabaah, Kabáh, Kahbah and Kaba)is a Puuc Maya site on Highway 261, about 90 miles southwest of Mérida in Yucatan State. Ruins extend for a considerable distance on both sides of the highway. Most of the more distant structures are little visited, and some are still overgrown with forest. An alternative name is Kabahaucan or "royal snake in the hand". Kabáh is 12 miles south of Uxmal and is connected by a sacbe to that city. This sacbe is a grand example at 12 miles long, 16 feet wide, at places more than 20 feet thick, with a monumental arches at both ends. Kabáh is the second largest ruin of the Puuc region after Uxmal. Kabáh was first occupied prior to 200 BC.
Most of the visible architecture was built between the 600 AD to 1000 AD. The "Palace of the Masks" and the monumental arch are the must see structures. A sculpted date on a doorjamb of one of the buildings gives the date 879, another inscribed date is one of the latest carved in the Maya Classic style, in 987. Kabáh was abandoned or at least no new ceremonial architecture built for several centuries before the Spanish conquest of Yucatán.

The most famous structure at Kabáh is the "Palace of the Masks", the facade decorated with hundreds of stone masks of the long-nosed rain god Chaac; it is also known as the Codz Poop, meaning "Rolled Matting". It is thought that the checkered pattern mosaic on the facade of this structure depicts the pattern of a woven mat.

Masks of the rain god "Chaac" appear on almost every structure at Kabáh.
Copal incense has been discovered in the noses of some of the Chaac sculptures. The emphasis placed on Chaac, the "Protector of the Harvest", both here and at other neighboring Puuc sites, stemmed from the scarcity of water in the region. There are no cenotes in this dryer, northern part of the Yucatan, so the Maya here had to depend solely on rain.

Kabáh has numerous other structures that includes plazas, palaces, pyramid platform temples, a ballcourt. Most of these structure are of pure Puuc Maya architectural style. A few show Chenes elements. It is thought that Kabáh may be a transition city for these two architectural styles. Originally this site had numerous carved architectural components; panels, lintels, and doorjambs. However, the majority of these carved components have been removed and placed in museums. The sculptures mostly depicted noblemen/rulers and scenes of warfare.

The first professional account of Kabáh was published by John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood in 1843.

Kabah was declared a Yucatán state park in 1993.
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photo by: jose28