Ancient Mayan Uxmal ~ Pyramids

 

 

Uxmal means “thrice built” in Mayan. Uxmal, is set in the Puuc hills, which give their name to this architectural style. Uxmal like Chichén Itzá shows some influence of the Toltecs although to a much lesser degree. The ruins are magnificent and dignified, commanding good views of the low-lying regions around the site. While the ruins are somewhat smaller than Chichén Itzá they have a quality of detail which is quite remarkable. The extensive restoration work performed at Uxmal allows you to see the scope and grandeur of this powerful city. Uxmal is thought to have been the “Capital” of the Puuc Cities of Labná, Sayil, Kabáh, Edzná and Chacmultun and may have been politically aligned with Yaxuná and Cobá before the fall of Yaxuná. Uxmal is from the Classic period between 600 and 1000 A.D.

 

The constructions of Uxmal are highly decorated with exquisite geometrical mosaics of cut stone that form very ornate patterns. Some very finely carved stelae have also been discovered. The Main Temple is called the Pyramid Of The Magician; it’s quite dramatic, especially because of it’s elliptical base, but otherwise conforms to traditional temple- pyramid form. According to Maya legend, the temple was created in the span of a single night by a child prodigy who became ruler of the land. In reality it may have taken as long as 300 years to build what we see today, for it actually is five structures superimposed one on top of the other.

 

The “Nunnery” or ” Quadrangle of the Nuns” is actually a palace complex, which stands adjacent to the Pyramid of the Magician. On the West facade of the “Nunnery” part of an elaborate frieze shows the image of a human face emerging from the jaws of the serpent. This is a recurrent theme in Maya art. In this case, however, the sculpture of the feathered serpent is a later (Toltec) addition to what was a Maya mosaic. Among the wonderful buildings and sites at Uxmal you will also find The Governor’s Palace, The Temple of the Chenes, The Platform of Stelae and The House of La Vieja

 

Life among the nobles or elite has not been accurately identified at Uxmal. Unlike other sites whose history of rulers is well documented, Uxmal doesn’t provide testimony to its rulers. The rain god Lord Chac, is the only one specifically identified. It may have been that Uxmal was a city of Priests and totally dedicated to the spiritual side of life with very little political bent. This may explain why Uxmal appears to have been less war-like than other Maya city-states. Art and monuments celebrating victory in battle are not common at Uxmal.

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