Guide To The Ancient City Of Uxmal In Mexico

Guide to the ancient city of Uxmal in Mexico

To speak of the old city of Uxmal is to speak of the second city of pre-Hispanic origin that is most visited in Yucatan. It is located about 80 kilometers south of Mérida, where this ancient location of the Mayan civilization is located, which had 20,000 inhabitants. 

It is considered the most important city on the Puuc Route, after the famous Chichén Itzá. Its name derives from ox , which means three and is a place shrouded, like other Mayan cities, in mystery.

Characteristics of the city ​​of Uxmal

City of Uxmal
Uxmal – bellbeefer / Flickr.com

This is a settlement that represents Puuc-style architecture like no other. The main characters here are the buildings with masks of the Rain god, Chaac, as well as hieroglyphics and ornate frets.

It differs from most of the cities of pre-Hispanic origin in that it is not geometrically structured. What is certain is that the buildings are built according to the topography of the area. In addition, they are related to various astronomical phenomena, such as the rise and fall of Venus.

What to see in the city of Uxmal

In the city of Uxmal we can find some important buildings, for their meaning and also for their state of conservation. Among them, the following stand out:

Quadrangle of the Nuns

Quadrangle of the Nuns in Uxmal
Nuns Quadrangle – Mark Round / Flickr.com

They are four buildings of elongated shape that have richly carved facades in relief and that surround a quadrangular patio. As a curiosity, it can be mentioned that the buildings are on different levels and that they were built between the 10th and 11th centuries.

But if there is something that makes this set special, it is its complex decoration with lattices, Tláloc and Chac masks, as well as rich motifs of serpents, geometric elements and human figures.

House of the Fortune Teller or the Dwarf

Casa del Adivino in the city of Uxmal
Fortune Teller’s House – Heather Harvey / Flickr.com

This is a 35 meter high pyramid  that began in the 6th century and took about four centuries to complete. It is located to the right of the Quadrangle of the Nuns.

It has a double façade, and in one of them there is a long staircase that allows access to a temple located at the top.

Governor’s Palace

Governor's Palace in the city of Uxmal
Governor’s Palace – Luis Alveart / Flickr.com

It stands on a platform up to 12 meters high and almost 100 meters long, divided into 3 parts. Its façade is one of the most beautiful examples of Mayan sculpture and architecture, with an incredible stone mosaic. Chac’s masks and more snakes also reappear.

Other buildings

There are more buildings in the city of Uxmal to pay attention to. They include the House of the Turtles, the temple of the Macaws, the Quadrangle of the Cemetery, the arch or the Great Pyramid.

Show in Uxmal

City of Uxmal
Uxmal – Rachel Sample / Flickr.com

The sound and light show that takes place every day of the year is worth seeing. Here you can hear legends about how this Mayan city was created, the history and traditions they had, both in its heyday and in its greatest decadence.

Chocolate Museum

It was inaugurated 5 minutes walk from Uxmal. In this place you can savor a hot chocolate drink that is made respecting an old recipe with the ingredients you want. In addition, you can live a Mayan ceremony honoring the god Chaac.

Hours and rates in Uxmal

City of Uxmal
Uxmal – Frank_am_Main / Flickr.com

The archaeological zone is  open every day from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. The rate for Mexican visitors is 132 pesos and for  foreign visitors it is 188 pesos.

The sound and light show takes place at 8:00 pm in summer time (from the first Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October) and at 7:00 pm in winter time. Mexican visitors pay 50 pesos and foreigners 75 pesos. To this must be added the parking fee: 22 pesos for cars and 33 pesos for buses.

Are there discounts?

Access to the city of Uxmal on Sundays is free for Mexicans. Of course, they must be identified, except for the sound and light show. There are discounts from Monday to Saturday for students, teachers and seniors. This discount is only valid for visiting the area, not for the sound and light show.

As you can see, the city of Uxmal is worth visiting, a door to one of the cultures that existed before the arrival of the Spanish. If you like pre-Hispanic civilization and the ancient world, this is a wonderful destination. Mexico is a corner full of history and privileged nature.

Cover photo: Franx ‘/ Flickr.com

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