Uxmal is one of the main archaeological sites of the Maya zone, located in the Puuc region of Yucatán, Mexico. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996, due to its monumental urban conception, impressive architecture, and artistic ornamentation, as well as its undeniable historical value.
The name Uxmal means “thrice-built” or “three times built” in Maya, referring to the construction of its highest structure, the Pyramid of the Magician. This pyramid is also known as the Pyramid of the Sorcerer or the Pyramid of the Dwarf, because of a legend that tells of a dwarf who was born from an egg and built the city in one night. It is one of the few pyramids with a circular or oval base, and it stands 35 meters high.
Another remarkable building in Uxmal is the Governor’s Palace, considered one of the most beautiful and interesting buildings of the Maya architecture and of all Mesoamerica. It is almost 100 meters long and nine meters high, and it rests on a great platform. It consists of three autonomous buildings connected by vaulted galleries, built with the Puuc style. This style is characterized by a first low level which is plain with no decorations; and a second level, extremely ornamented with numerous masks of Chaac, the god of rain.
The Quadrangle of the Nuns is a huge courtyard surrounded by four buildings, each one with numerous rooms just like a convent, which is why it was given its popular name. The buildings have elaborate facades with geometric and zoomorphic motifs, such as snakes, birds, and human figures.
Other notable constructions in Uxmal are the House of the Doves, the House of the Turtles, the Great Pyramid, the Platform of the Jaguars and the Ball Court. The uniqueness of their construction style was clearly influenced by their worship to Chaac, god of the rain, since they were a fundamentally agricultural culture who deemed water as something vital.
Uxmal is a fascinating place, full of ornamentation and symbolism. It is open to visitors every day from 8 am to 5 pm. The entrance fee is $90 pesos (about $4 USD). There are also guided tours and light and sound shows available for an extra cost. Uxmal is a must-see destination for anyone interested in the ancient Maya culture and its legacy.