Uxmal (pronounced oosh-mall) means “thrice built” or “thrice occupied” in Mayan. This magnificent city was one of the major regional capitals of the Mayan world. There are several large structures here, some main ones are seen in the featured photograph at the top, with Puuc style decorative elements including Chaac masks, Feathered Serpents, birds, jaguars, Mayan houses and designs. Chaac was the Mayan god of rain, and the honored god at Uxmal because of the often and usual lack of natural water supplies in the city. Unlike other archeological sites in the Yucatan, Uxmal does not have an on-site cenote (fresh water source). Although the Yucatán has only a few surface rivers, most Mayan cities used cenotes to access underground water, however there were no cenotes at Uxmal. Instead, it was necessary to collect water in chultunes, or cisterns, built in the ground.
Okay, enough of the history lesson…are these things amazing looking or what! Like many wonders of the world, the best photographs simply don’t do them justice. The height, the perfect fit and construction, functionality, and one amazing aspect that I had never heard or thought of, the “outside” acoustics of the main High Priest’s temple. Some more history, sorry, but it makes the acoustic story make sense.
The Mayan’s used the Quetzal, a blue green bird with very long tail feathers, in their worship. The temple was built in such a fantastic way that even today, some 2500 years later, that if you stand in front of the temple and clap your hands the echo comes back with the exact sound that the Quetzal made. How amazing is that! I literally lost my balance trying on a pair of shorts just 3 weeks ago.
The last thing I will try to describe is the double jaguar carving. This carving is actually a major part of the Mayan king’s throne. It exemplifies strength, power, cunning, and the prowess of a great hunter: all the qualities of a god-like warrior king.
For the other pictures, all I can say is just enjoy. Try to imagine yourself feeling about an inch tall in front of a monumental pyramid like design, towering into the sky above. You can almost here the beat of drums, the sounds of a thriving community, and if you close your eyes, you can picture these giant structures in their original glory. Painted red, and adorned with gold and precious stones.
A sister site to Uxmal is called Chichen Itza, and is one of the new 7 Wonders of the World. So what else can this meager wordsmith began to say of such a place? Not much that seems to do justice. I know that the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico is not a 3 Hour Photo Trip, but I’m hoping you all will forgive me on that point.
So, don’t forget to click the like button, leave me a comment, and share with absolutely everyone you know. Until next time, Enjoy Our Wonderful World!