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. >>>
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.
Here 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. >>>
<<< A close-up of one of the many
carved images of grotesque faces that decorate stone slabs in
the Cemetery Group Temple.
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
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
R A V E L M E N U
A I N M E N U
Text and Photography
by Paul Picus. Copyright © 1996-2008 Paul Picus. All Rights
Copyright © 1996-2008
Gar Benedick, All Rights Reserved.