Yucatan Uxmal Gallery
This is an expanded collection of photos taken on our day in Uxmal. In contrast to the travelblog where I walked us around the grounds, this collection will be divided into specific areas of interest, and perhaps expand on the information offered. At the end of the gallery I have set aside a collection of photos rendered in black and white.
Temple of the Magician (Sorcerer)
The first vision one beholds of Uxmal
Upper temple with facade of Chaac and Quetzlecoatl
A borrowed vintage photo from the early days when Uxmal was discovered, before excavation and restoration.
The House of the Magician – East Facade – Puuc style This pyramid-shaped building measures about 35 meters in height and has an elliptical shape. To date, five construction phases have been detected; carried out at different times and in different architectural styles. Among them is the west facade, featuring the Chenes style architecture. The building that crowns the upper base is the final stage of Puuc architectural style construction. This is a twin facade construction with one facing west with a central entrance and the other facing east with two entrances. On the east facade a design typical of the Puuc corresponding to a hut with a thatched roof can still be seen while the west facade panels with a geometric diamond-shaped contours that represent the earth can be seen. We can say that the general form of the Temple of the Magician (or Soothsayer) conjures up the composition of the Mayan house covering made from palm. This is considered the highest expression of the cosmos and the gods.
Throughout the Mayan realms, many red hands appear on the stuccoed walls.
The Mayan people beileve in reincarnation. The face in the mouth of the serpent suggests the rebirth of a soul, and can also be interpreted as the return of an ancestor. According to several Mayan guides, human sacrifices were often voluntary, as a means of giving a life for the benefit of the people (a call to the god’s for favorable conditions of rain and crops) and the return into a better station of life. These panels are located on the frieze of the Nunnery in Uxmal
Looking at the Nunnery from the House of Turtles next to the Governor’s Palace
Our guide explained to us that the game played here in Uxmal used larger and lower rings, thereby constraining the players to using only feet, hips, knees, and arms. This contrasted with Chichen Itza, where the rings were higher and smaller and necessitated the use of a lacrosse style net and stick or bat.
Palace of the Governor:
The Governor’s Palace lies upon a platform of 8 to 12 meters high, 187 meters long and 170 meters wide. The structure is 98 meters on the front and has a width of 12 meters. It was divided into three separate sections of tall transverse vaults. Its facade boasts some of the most beautiful examples of Mayan architectural sculpture. Masks of the god Chaac adorn its four corners and they are also placed diagonally, creating a serpentine molding. Conspicuous in the center is a throne with a majestically seated sovereign, surrounded by intertwining serpents and masks of the god Chaac. It is dated between 900-1000 A.D.
A double-headed jaguar throne in front of the Governor’s Palace
This is the unreconstructed side of the platform that supports the Governor’s Palace. Compare this with the next picture.
This is the reconstructed side of the platform of the Governor’s Palace. I presume it might have been stuccoed back in the day.
Notice how the vegetation is covering the pyramid on the right side. There was a local worker attacking the vegetation with a machete, making slow but steady progress. Might be interesting to see what this looks like in a few years.
The Great Temple, or Great Pyramid is 30 meters high and 80 meters long on its north side. It is a nine-tiered, broken shaped stepped pyramid. The steps on the northern side lead to a platform upon which a building called the “Macaw Temple” is located. The masks decorating the corners of the building are more rounded than the others in Uxmal. The construction is dated to the 8th century.
It is nice that the public is allowed to climb the Great Pyramid. It does give one a small sense of the Mayan reality. The ascent does not come easy to many.
It is one thing getting up. Going down is a little freakier. I found going on a diagonal to be relatively easier.
One of many macaws at the Great Pyramid temple.
Chaac with his characteristically long nose. Pointed up signifies prayers for rain. Turned down indicated thanks for rain.
The Pigeon Loft (House of Doves):
The Pigeon Loft Complex consists of three squares with a hierarchical spatial arrangment which get smaller with the increasing height of the platforms to the south finished off with a pyramidal base with two side buildings which together constitute a triadic arrangement. This arrangement forms the focus point of the complex. Each square is bound on four sides by long buildings of multiple rooms known in archeological terms as ‘palace-style.’ Different levels define three complexes that originate in the sunken courtyard, the quadrangle of the pigeon loft and the triadic complex found in the highest part. The main entrance to the complex is formed by a low, elongated mound located to the north. Access to each level is by means of an outset staircase which is a half vault attached to the facade of a building. The main access to the complex is from the north, an elongated head-height structure with multiple rooms that seperates the first central square known as the House of the Pigeons or the Pigeon Loft. The facade of this building has nine crests staggered in the form of triangles that resemble pigeon lofts and give their name to both the structure and the complex. The crests are constructed over a row of pillars covered with painted stucco reliefs and figures of characters on pedestals in the center. This complex, like most of the architecture visible today was built between the third and tenth centure A.D. Its architectural design resembes the acropolis located elsewhere such as Piedras Negras in Guatemala, which are complexes associated with palatial groups that developed administrative and ceremonial activities and, in many cases, housing since they were also the residence of the royal family or groups of noblemen.
Kicking around and about (miscellaneous shots):
One of the locals
A lot of ruins are hidden under relentless vegetation
A dwelling or structure of some sort beneath the Governor’s Palace. Whoever had occupancy of the structure at the end of the small alley or hallway had a pretty plush suite, as things go.
Some remnant stucco. We do understand that everything in Mayan buildings was stuccoed and painted.
The cenote at Cacao:
Playing with black & white processing:
Return to Uxmal