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Uxmal is a Maya city which is founded around 800 A.D. and reached his peak at around 900 AD. Uxmal and Chichén Itzá are called the ' Puuc sites ', referring to the Puuc hills in this area and to their characteristic construction style. After the waste of the cities in the Southern lowland, such as Tikal, came in the period (800-1000 A.D.) the Puuc cities to prosperity.
Problem in this region was that the ground was so porous that there were no rivers and lakes. Therefore Puuc-Maya's developed the ingenious method to obtain underground water and to store in hand-made wells. Also they used natural water sources in caves. The Puuc-style is very harmonious and is well known of its mosaic facades, varnished masonry, small relief-pillars and Chac-masks with hook noses on the frontage and corners of buildings. The rain god Chac was in this country with little rain and without rivers an important deity. Uxmal means: "built 3 times" and refers to the 3 phases of construction. It was the capital of the Puuc region and is considered as the most beautiful Puuc-city.


Piramide del Aidvino, pyramid of the magician. Also named the pyramid of the dwarf, or pyramid of the fortune-teller. According to the legend the pyramid has been built in 1 night by the son of a wizard, a dwarf who had come from an egg.
Here the complete legend

The pyramid is in fact a combination of 5 different temples of which the construction must have taken several centuries. The pyramid has an altitude of 42 meter. Unfortunally you may not climb the pyramid anymore (July 2004)


Back side of the pyramid. It must present a huge mask.


The square behind the pyramid of the wizard is called Casa de las Monjas, convent of the nuns. It is a name which the Spaniards gave to the building because it reminded them to cloisters of Spain. It exists of 4 large long palaces around a rectangular inner court. These correspond with the layout of the Maya-cosmos. The north building, the highest, is called the "sky house". At the lowest place lies the Southern building that shows symbols of the underworld. The buildings in east and west have been built on an altitude between north and south. The west wall on the picture at the left is 60 meters long and has impressive figures on it.


Detail of the west wall.

A rattle-snake, 3 masks of the rain god Chac, stylized with extensions of images of Chac.



Eastern wall.

We see flattened triangles with the point down. It exists of 8 horizontal rods. The 4 below have snake heads, the upper 4 an owl heads. This bird represents the night and dead in the Maya mythology.

It is still difficult to see !!


Everywhere on the buildings we see Chac masks. I have selected a few so that you can get a clear picture of the masks.




And another Iguana.

You see them everywhere here in Uxmal.


Also in Uxmal there is still a lot to discover. Here we see a, with a vegetation overgrown, temple that is still not exposed.


Left the convent of the nuns, at the right the governor's palace.


The house of the doves. So-called because a discoverer was reminded of a dovecote when he first saw the fretwork of the roof combs. It is a remainder of a residential complex. The extensive roof combs (9 in total) were used to make compact buildings look larger.


In the background the convent of the nuns and the pyramid.


The large pyramid

Again we see the 9 platforms. Only the North side has been restored. The other sides are still covered with earth and vegetation. On top the temple of the Guacamayas. In the temple a mask of CHAC.


The governor's palace. It has a length of more than 100 meters! It is the most beautiful building of Uxmal because of its magnificent decoration. There are 103 Chac-masks on the wall, such placed that they represent horizontally and diagonal crawling snakes.
The governor's palace was build by Chan Chaak, governor of Uxmal, who reigned around 900 A.D. We see him here sitting on a throne and surrounded by celestial snakes. Crown of the two-headed jaguar, symbol of the royal power. Served as a throne for the Uxmal dignitaries. The 2 heads of this seat of honor refer to the dualism of the lords or hierarch: being both divine and human, its obligations as a civil governor and highest sacramental official. etc. etc.. Yes yes....


In the background the convent of the nuns and the pyramid.


House of the turtles

A line of appealing and well-shaped turtles form the principal decoration in the frieze appearing on all four sides and give the building its name. Since turtles are associated with rain, it's believed that the edifice was a temple used in the worship of water. And as we know, water was exceptionally in the Puuc-region



A last view on the pyramid of the Magician.
We go further in the direction of Merida...but first something to eat on the way to it.


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Tot nu toe betreft het een viertal vakanties: Suriname, Egypte, Peru, Bolivia en Mexico. Verder een kort fotoverslag van de zonsverduistering in 1999 te noord-frankrijk in de buurt van het plaatsje Spincourt. Er is een mogelijkheid om mijn gastenboek te tekenen. Deze homepage is ontworpen door Sander van Kuppevelt (sandervk).