The Magic and History of Uxmal

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The name Uxmal means ‘thrice-built’ in Mayan. This name refers to the construction of its highest structure, the Pyramid of the Magician which was built on top of existing pyramids. In this case, five stages of construction have been found.
Uxmal was one of the largest cities of the Yucatán peninsula on the Ruta Puuc (Puuc Route), and at its height was home to approximately 20,000 Maya. Uxmal and other surrounding Puuc sites flourished in the Late Classic Period (around 600-900 AD) before they were overruled by neighboring settlements. The rulers of Uxmal are also thought to have presided over the nearby settlements of Kabah, Labná and Sayil. There are several sacbes (white roads of the Maya) connecting the nearby sites.
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Fast Facts About Uxmal Ruins

  • Uxmal is a UNESCO World heritage site
  • The present name is derived from Oxmal, meaning “three times built”
  • The estimated population of 20,000 people is a rough guess.
  • The main ruins of Uxmal cover about 150 acres
  • Buildings and construction are typical of the Puuc style, with smooth low walls below ornate friezes that are blocked together like a puzzle.
  • Govenor’s Palace 320 foot long mosaic facade is one of the longest in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica and features 103 stone masks of the rain god Chac
  • Pyramid of the Magician is a height of 115 feet
  • Uxmal and its three related cities of Kabah, Labná and Sayil admirably demonstrate the social and economic structure of late Maya society before it disappeared in the late Classic Period.
  • Uxmal is connected to neighboring sites Kabah, Labná and Sayil by sacbes
  • Uxmal was dominant in the Yucatan region from 875 to 900 CE by the Xiu Family who later built an alliance with the Spanish to survive.
  • The western staircase of the Temple of the Magician pyramid is built to face the sun during Summer solstice.
  • During 1441-1541, Uxmal was abandoned by its few remaining inhabitants and became no more than a place of pilgrimage until the conquest by the Spanish, who gave the surviving buildings their existing names that have nothing to do with their true functions.
  • The Mexican government in 1927 started to work on Uxmal to prevent further decay. In 1930, Danish explorer Frans Blom led a Tulane University expedition to the site to assist in further preservation of the site.
  • Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom visited on February 27, 1975 for the inauguration of the site’s evening sound & light show.
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<img src  Temples of Uxmal.jpg" lt=" http://dailytravelexperience.blogspot.rs/" />

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photo Tatjana Dimitrijevic, OC
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