An Impressive Mayan City that Flourished Between 600 - 900 A.D Largest City Built in Puuc Style
As we drove along the highway that leads to Campeche, on our way to these ancient Mayan ruins, we found new places to explore that we had missed on previous trips.
We drove through the free road (La Libre), we did not take the toll highway, which is shorter and faster.
You do not have to pass through any of the little villages that are on the way, or lower your speed due to the many "speed bumps", pedestrians or animals of the towns you pass. In short the toll highway is more convenient.
But, if you have never been to Yucatan before and you are the adventurous type of person, you will miss out on a lot of interesting things - Beautiful old 17th and 18th century haciendas, breathtaking cenotes, amazing underground caves and quaint cool little towns.
You would see things that you never imagined existed. Don’t miss out on an amazing, unforgettable and educational experience.
Cenote Dos Ojos
A friendly warning though - for some people the ancient Mayan temples are just a bunch of old rocks and stones, unlike others which regard them as awesome precious stones.
If you are in the first category, it’s fine, but, you are going to be bored to death, there are many other activities that I am sure you would enjoy a lot more.
On the other hand if you are into other civilizations and cultures, history, architecture and art, you are going to enjoy visiting these Mayan cities immensely.
I’m going to talk about Uxmal, not from the point of view of a tourist which I’m not, Yucatan is my home and it is where I’ve lived most of my life.
This will be a short account of these Mayan pyramids, what they are, and what you would expect to see.
the City Three Times Built
Uxmal Yucatan Entrance
Uxmal Mexico (oosh - MAL), is a worldwide famous Mayan City, which is situated in Yucatan Mexico, also home to many other ancient Mayan ruins.
The Mayan word Uxmal (oosh - MAHL), derives from the word Oxmal (ox = three) which means Three Times Built or Occupied.
These ancient Mayan ruins are located 80 km (50 miles) south of Merida the capital city of Yucatan, on the road to the state of Campeche, and 358 km (222 miles) from Cancun, in an area made up of a series of very low hills, known as the Puuc Region, (pook) which in Maya means “Range of Hills”.
Quadrangle of the Nuns
I consider worth mentioning that the Yucatan landscape is completely flat with very few exceptions that I wouldn’t actually call hills, they are more like heaps or mounds.
Later in time, the architectural style of the different Mayan cities located in this area, became known as the “Puuc Architectural Style”, famous for its elaborate beauty, which features heavy ornamentation and complex artistry.
Hence the name Puuc Route or Ruta Puuc which travel agencies advertise as an interesting day trip which it actually is.
Included in this route, are the Caves of Loltun, awesome Cenotes (sinkholes), imposing old Haciendas and quaint Mayan villages.
Also the Mayan cities that were established in what is now called the Puuc Region or Puuc Route, of course Uxmal (which is the largest), Kabah, Sayil and Labna.
They were all connected by white roads called sacbe (sahk - BEH), which were popular at the time.
Uxmal is an impressive Mayan City that flourished between 600 - 900 A.D - it was one of the largest Mayan cities of the Yucatan Peninsula, and the largest city built in Puuc style, which at the peak of its power was home to 25,000 Mayan people.
It was a well planned city. When designing the city the Mayan people took into consideration astronomical, geometrical and metaphysical calculations.
Since the area was devoid of cenotes (sinkholes) which was the only source of natural water, the inhabitants of Uxmal Mexico built cisterns, known as Chultunes (chool-too-nehs) which are tanks or reservoirs for rainwater collection.
It’s understandable why Chaac the Mayan Rain God was of utmost importance to these people.
Currently many people claim that Chichen Itza Mexico is considered as the most impressive Mayan city in the Yucatan Peninsula, and Uxmal Mexico is considered to be the most beautiful. It became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996.