The name Uxmal means "built three times" in Mayan, referring to the construction of its highest structure, the Pyramid of the Magician. Uxmal flourished in the Late Classic period, around 850-920 AD when most of the city's main structures were build. During this time the population of the city reached about 25,000 people making Uxmal one of the largest cities in the Yucatán.
Located 62km or two hours south of Merida, the capital of Yucatan, Uxmal is one of the most important Mayan ruins in Central America along with Chichen Itza and Tikal. The ruins are built in a peculiar architectural style (called Puuc) and have beautiful buildings including large courtyards, high pyramids housing the most important religious and administrative buildings, and arches and residences with ornate façades.
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.
Uxmal gives a feeling of neighborhood or a series of small neighborhoods or even a planned community with distinct groups of buildings separated by welcome stretches of green before you entered another group of buildings with its own personality.
The ruins are fairly closely clustered, and it is easy to walk to all parts of the ruins open to guests. Most of the ruins were easily accessible, with vast expanses of mowed grass. However, there was a few ruins on the outer perimeter that were a little overgrown. Of course not all parts of the ruin have been excavated and up kept, but one can still see them.
The Pyramid of the Magician is the tallest building at Uxmal with a height of 115 feet and unusual round corners. It is so named because of a Mayan legend about a Magician or Dwarf who build this pyramid in one night. A large ball court for playing the Mesoamerican ballgame is inscribed with hieroglyphics informing us that it was dedicated in the year 901.
The majority of all of the hieroglyphic inscriptions present at Uxmal are on a series of stone stelae. These stelae are grouped together on a single platform. The stelae depict the ancient rulers of the city, and all show signs that they were deliberately broken and toppled in antiquity.
There are some tours to visit Uxmal, however you should be prepare for a long trip. It's a pretty long drive from Cancun to Uxmal. (About 4 hours) Spending a night in Merida is a goog idea then you can visit Uxmal and if you want to, there are some other great ancient cities in the Yucatan peninsula like Kabah, Sayil, Xlapak and Labna that are worth to visit.
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