Mayan architecture for Kids
The temple at the top section has a doorway in the form of a Chac mask. This pyramid is the tallest in Uxmal, but it is also known as the House of the Dwarf (Casa del Enano) because of an ancient legend stating that it was built overnight by an enchanted dwarf who then became the city's ruler.
At the tourist entrance to the central area is the Pyramid of the Magician, (shown at right) The pyramid is 90 feet tall and built in three sections. Also on the terrace near the Governor's Palace, is the House of the Turtles, a smaller building taking its name from its wall sculptures of turtles. The Great Pyramid measures 260 feet on each side.
The site of Uxmal is a dry grass area, but the surrounding region is heavily forested. Water was furnished by cenotes (wells formed by sinkholes in limestone) within the city or by rain-collecting pools nearby.
Rainfall and the supply of water were a constant activity for the people who lived there. They often asked Chac (the rain God) to help them. They honored Chac with hieroglyphs and with human sacrifices. Hieroglyphs reveal that an Uxmal ruler took the name "Lord Chac" about 900.
There are several Mayan tours available to take guests right to the entrance.
The House of the Pigeons, with a pigeonhole-style upper section and the South Temple. Other important places are the Cemetery Group, the House of the Old Woman (Casa de la Vieja), and the series of ruins called the North Group.
Uxmal is ancient city in the north Yucatán peninsula of Mexico. A Late Classic period MAYA center, Uxmal flourished between 600 and 900. The site has several fine examples of Mayan architecture, including the Nunnery, with elaborate stone mosaic friezes; the Governor's Palace, with some 20, 000 carved stone elements and the Pyramid of the Magician. The Maya abandoned Uxmal shortly after 950.
Uxmal Pronounced “oosh-mawl, ” Uxmal was one of the greatest Maya cities.
The city was built sometime during the 5th or 6th centuries but archaeological evidence suggests that the area had been inhabited as a farming center since as far back as 800 B.C.
The city shows has the architectural styles called the Maya “Puuc” style.
The grandest structure of the site is the Pyramid of the Magician. Though not a true pyramid (it is elliptical, not square), the pyramid stands 38 meters tall with a staircase at a steep angle.
The Nunnery is thought to have been a school of some sort, either for the military or the children of the elite classes. Southwest of the pyramid, is the Governor’s Palace, the largest and fanciest structure in Uxmal. The intricate stonework and the 320 foot long mosaic facade of the palace make the building the most beautiful of Uxmal. The Palace’s main door was placed in perfect alignment with Venus. Another large structure on the site is the Great Pyramid.
At 90 feet tall, this nine-level pyramid is a largest structure of Uxmal. It is decorated with fancy carvings of masks, birds, and flowers. Like many of the other ruins in Mexico, Uxmal has a restored ball court.
There are huge cisterns which supplied the city with water. To collect water, the city built huge cisterns to capture rain.
That's why the rain god, Chaac, was the most worshipped in Uxmal.
Uxmal is one of the most well known of the Maya cities, and rated by many archaeologists as the finest. There is also a small museum and auditorium. There’s an admission fee of around $4 and a further fee for the sound and light show. All the sites are free on Sundays
From Mérida, follow the 261 in the direction of Campeche. The site is about 70 miles from Mérida and it should take about an hour by car. Background - The name Uxmal means 'thrice-built' in Mayan, referring to the construction of its highest structure, the Pyramid of the Magician.
The Maya would often build a new temple over an existing one, and in this case five stages of construction have actually been found.
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