Historical Enchantment

Temple of the Magician 32KThe Temple of the Magician, the tallest structure in Uxmal, rises 38 meters above the Mayan ruins. Steep stairways, constructed at 60 degree angles, make climbing the pyramid a real challenge. >>>



Temple of the Magician 32K


Nunnery Quadrangle 32K<<< A large enclosed plaza forms the courtyard of the Nunnery Quadrangle, a complex of four ornately carved buildings containing scores of small cell-like rooms.


Nunnery Quadrangle 32K

Nunnery courtyard arch 32KHere at the entrance to the Nunnery courtyard is an example of a classical Mayan arch, a distinctive architectural element utilized by the Maya in their temple construction. >>>

Cemetery Group Temple 32K 
<<< A close-up of one of the many carved images of grotesque faces that decorate stone slabs in the Cemetery Group Temple.

Palace of the Governors 32K

A view of Uxmal showing the Palace of the Governors and the Grand Pyramid in the background. Located south of the Yucatan capital of Merida, Uxmal is an important Maya site. >>>


Grand Pyramid 32K<<< The 30 meter high Grand Pyramid is built on nine terraced levels which lead up to the Temple of the Guacamayas at its top.


I took a second class early morning bus from the Merida station to the ruins of Uzmal. Arriving at an early hour, I was one of the first people there and happily climbed the Great Pyramid alone. I walked around the ruins for about 2 1/2 hours, climbing other pyramids and exploring the other temple structures at the ancient site.

Uxmal was relatively uncrowded on a very hot and sunny weekday in late January. I lingered within the Nunnery looking in the cell-like rooms and studied the ornate architectural carvings on the restored walls.

At one point I followed a dirt path through the jungle to an ancient Mayan burial ground where I found myself alone among the tombstones carved with strange ceremonial faces. Iguanas rustled through the grasses and occasionally sunned themselves on rocks and crumbling ruins, indifferent to me and the long-silent cemetery inhabitants.


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Text and Photography by Paul Picus. Copyright © 1996-2008 Paul Picus. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright © 1996-2008 Gar Benedick, All Rights Reserved.