Uxmal - ¨Thrice Built"

Location: Yucatan, Mexico
1 hour south of Merida
2 hours from Chichen Itza
5 hours from Cancun


Uxmal is by far the most dramatic of all the hill and flatland archeological sites in the Yucatan. It dates from 600-1000 A.D. and is known for the stunning beauty of its architecture. Here we see thousands upon thousands of cut stones detailing every edifice in what is known as the Puuc style of architecture. As you enter Uxmal time seems to slow, giving this Mayan site a dreamy, magical feel. No other place has such a multitude of ornate and complex artistry.

Uxmal´s most famous structure, the Temple of the Magician, is an awesome feat of building prowess. This temple was rebuilt three times; this is where Uxmal got its name, which means ¨thrice built¨. Towering above the surrounding jungle and crowned with intricately carved stonework, it is a treasure of the ancient world. This massive pyramid is also known as the Temple of the Dwarf. In Mayan myth and legend it is said that Uxmal was built in one night by a dwarf with the help of his adopted mother who was known to be a witch. Who was this little guy? What did he and his sorceress mother do to shape the destiny of Uxmal? The ruins at Uxmal also have an equally stunning pyramid known as Temple of the Macaw. Together these two pyramids anchor the site and give it a grace blessed by the gods in strength.

It would appear that Uxmal is a city of miracles. Unlike many other Maya sites, no stone quarry has been found at Uxmal. Where the Maya quarried the stone and how they conveyed it to this site without the wheel or beast of burden is unknown. How such a large city could grow up in an area without springs, rivers or cenotes to provide water is also somewhat miraculous. The residents of Uxmal relied upon cistern water collection systems that were totally dependent upon rain. One can easily understand the importance of their reverence to the Mayan rain god Chac. In the beautiful carvings representing plumed serpents, macaws and turtles as well as repeated masks of the ever important rain god Chac, we see the artistry of the Puuc Maya at its very best.

It is a good idea to take plenty of time to fully explore this ancient Maya city. When exploring the ruins at Uxmal it is important to remember that the city was erected with its buildings at precise angles from and in relation to each other. Astronomical, geometrical and metaphysical calculations were carefully considered when the layout of the site was designed.

In the evening Uxmal has an entertaining light show in which relates some of the fascinating stories surrounding its history. Whether your favorite building is the Nunnery, one of the two pyramids, the Governor´s Palace or any one of the other many buildings you´ll have to agree that there is nothing like being here. Feel the wind on your face and smell the many scents of the jungle around you as you take in the awesome spectacle of Uxmal.


Maya Sites Travel Services
Excursions to Uxmal:

For tours that include Uxmal visit our Yucatan Excursions page


Spring Equinox at Chichen Itza & Dzibilchaltun
March 19-22, 2015
With Archaeologist & Maya Expert
Alfonso Morales Cleveland
Plus Ek Balam, Uxmal, Labna,
Tulum, Coba & More!

Classic Maya of the Rainforest in Palenque
March 23-28, 2015

With Archaeologist & Maya Expert
Alfonso Morales Cleveland

Palenque, Bonampak, Yaxchilan,
La Venta Olmec Museum & more!

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