I have always kept a record of my travels. It used to be with a pen and paper and 35 mm film. Now it’s all digital. On Flashback Fridays I reflect back on some of my past travels and travel mishaps before I started this blog.
Chichen Itza is the most well know of the ancient Mayan site, but Uxmal should give Chichen Itza a run for its money –at least in terms of its vastness. It’s not super well known and isn’t directly on a bus route the way Chichen Itza is, but it is relatively well preserved.
A little history of Uxmal:
The area around Uxmal was occupied as early as 800 BC, but the major building period took place when it was the capital of a Late Classic Mayan state around 850-925 AD.
After about 1000, when Toltec invaders took over the Yucatán peninsula (establishing their capital at Chichen Itza), all major construction ceased at Uxmal. However, it continued to be occupied and participated in the political League of Mayapán.
Uxmal later came under the control of the Xiú princes. The site was abandoned around 1450, shortly before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors.
Mayan legend claims that a dwarf magician, born from a egg, built the city of Uxmal in a single night. In reality, archaeological excavations reveal that the Pyramid of the Magician itself was erected in a series of five successive builds upon existing, lesser pyramids. This was a common Mayan building practice, thought to capture and amplify the power of the underlying structure.
Kabah is situated slightly further along the road from Uxmal, and is famed for the Temple to Chaac, the Rain God of the Maya. The structure is filled with the masks of Chaac. Across the road, there is also a Maya Arch, part of a Maya Road system that used to span the entire Yucatan region.
Sayil has a beautiful multi level palace
At Labna, you can clearly see an example of a Maya Road system, as well as a well-preserved decorative Maya Arch. The palace is also very beautiful.
Just a couple snippets from my thesis on Mayan Art and Architecture.