Sayil a small Puuc Classic Maya site is located 2 miles south of Kabah
on the Puuc Route, just 2 miles east of Route 261 at Latitude 20° 14'
0" North, by Longitude 89° 39' 0" West. on any of these structures.
Sayil is located amongst small hills. It was first occupied prior to
250 AD, monumental building began around 600 AD but was at its zenith
between 700 AD and 1000 AD. The maximum population is estimated to have
been less than 10,000. It is likely that Sayil was an ally to Uxmal
to its much smaller size and its close proximity.
to visit are El Palacio that is 3 stories tall with 98 room and 280
feet long, El Mirador which is a small 5 room Chenes style structure
with a roof comb and the ball court.
El Palacio at Sayil is one
of the most beautiful of all Maya structures, this palace is just one
step below the imposing Palace of the Governor and the Nunnery
Quadrangle at Uxmal.
El Palacio is the most important building at Sayil. The building
phases for this structure spanned from prior just to 670 AD to around
1000 AD. The long low form set on a large platform just draws you into
the site. El Palacio is on three levels and contains 98 rooms. The
front facade faces south and looks down on the entrance to the grand
sacbe (white road). The first and third levels each have an interior
corridor. Both of these corridors are in a poor state on my last visit.
The second level, the most highly ornamented of the three levels has
two corridors. The is a grand stairway that leads you from the ground
to each of the three levels. The roofs of the first and second levels
serve as terraces for each level above.
The Maya engineers took
advantage of the incline of a hill and recessed each successive level
back further on the hill to bear the majority of the weight of each
This is a contributing reason for the fine condition of this
large and heavy structure. The exterior walls of the second level with
the distinctive columns of the Classic Puuc archtecture. The columns
are used in a number of way, as supports for all lintels, as decoration
(false support columns) between doorways, as frieze panels above
doorways and finally as breaks between the large stylized long nosed
Chaac Masks and the God "Ah Mucen Cab", the "Bee God" or the
"Decending God" that is linked to Venus worship and "Kukulkán" (the
You should climb to the top level of El Palacio and
look to the north to see the water system for this structure. you can
see several chultunes (stuccoed, stone lined cisterns) used to collect
Some of these chultunes are larger than 15,000 gallons. There is
a local superstition that el Palacio is haunted. It is said that there
is music produced from this structure on every Good Friday.
Mirador can be found by taking the path leading south from El Palacio
for about 1,300 feet. This building was constructed prior to 600 AD.
This is a small (5 room) Chenes structure with a roof comb. This is a
very early example of a roof comb. There is still red paint visible in
the recesses of the roof comb. I recommend a telephoto lens of
binoculars to see the red paint.
Sayil also has a ballcourt and
several small palaces. On my last visit there had been little to no
reconstrcution or consolidation , compared to other Mayan cities in the
area built in plains.
There are two sacbe (white roads) to explore. You can follow a sacbe to either Uxmal or Kabah.
The parking lot is adequate and there are a number of arts and craft shops adjacent to the entrance on my last visit.