Uxmal Archaeological Site


Location: 78 km (48 mi) South of Merida, Yucatan

Open: 8am- 5pm



Uxmal refers to the ruins of a formerly large and culturally important Mayan city in Mexico. The name Uxmal possibly comes from "ox-mal", which means "three times" in the Yucatec Maya language. The ruined city is located in the slightly undulating karst landscape Puuc (mayathan pu'uk) on the Yucatán Peninsula in the Mexican state of the same name, about 80 kilometers south of Mérida.

The city experienced its heyday at the end of the Late Classical period in the 9th and early 10th centuries AD, but was completely abandoned one to two centuries later. The buildings are surmounted by the "Pyramid of the Magician" (= "Piramide del Mago"), which, like most buildings in Uxmal, was repeatedly rebuilt and expanded during the settlement of the city. The most powerful single building is the so-called Governor's Palace, located on a high platform. Today, Uxmal is one of the most visited ruins of the Maya and offers a good insight into the original appearance of the city through the restoration of buildings.



According to colonial chronicles and archaeological findings

According to various colonial-era sources, in particular state surveys (Relaciones Geográficas) from 1581 and the Chilam-Balam books, which are based on autochthonous traditions, it was a Hun Uitzil Chac or an Ah Cuitok Tutul Xiu, both from the Xiu family, who settled in Uxmal. The date for this is (in the Códice Pérez) a K'atun 2 Ajaw, which according to the Mayan calendar returns every about 256 years. According to the archaeological findings, at most a period from 731 to 751 AD is suitable for this. This is linked to the assumption that the Xiu probably came to Yucatán as immigrants from the area of the present state of Tabasco. The indication in the Códex Pérez also contradicts the literally identical statement with another time indication in the Chilam-Balam text by Tizimín, which is why the dating may not be considered authentic. Because of these discrepancies, the age, builders, residents and rulers of the city of Uxmal are still not reliably identifiable from historical sources.

The only ruler of Uxmal known from contemporary hieroglyphic inscriptions is Chan Chak K'ak'nal Ajaw. Under him, the city was magnificently expanded and brought into the form visible today (after the excavations and restorations). The inscriptions referring to him date from the short period between the years 895 and 907. Uxmal had already been an important city several centuries before.

In the early 10th century, the construction of large stone buildings was stopped. However, a considerable number of buildings (called "C-shaped" because of their floor plan) with walls and roofs made of wood and palm leaves show that Uxmal was inhabited by a smaller population for some time afterwards. However, political power and economic conditions were no longer sufficient for the erection or continuation of the construction of monumental structures. It is not possible to determine when the last permanent residents left the city. In Uxmal, the same process took place as in the entire Puuc area, but with a certain time delay. Later, in Uxmal (as well as in other places of the Puuc area), occasional visitors laid offerings in the rubble of collapsing buildings.

According to the late reports, the Xiu moved the capital of their principality from Uxmal to Maní, where the family is based to the present day. All these reports have in common that they were written many centuries after the end of the city of Uxmal or were brought into the form known today. In 1536 A.D. (according to the Cronica de Oxkutzcab from 1538), a group of Xiu pilgrims who wanted to make sacrifices at the Holy Cenote of Chichén Itzá for the end of a drought period had been killed in their sleep by the Cocom, which are derived from Chichén Itzá. This could be seen as retribution for a massacre committed much earlier by the Xiu to the Cocom in Ich Paa. All these scattered references speak for long-lasting and rather conflictual relations between Uxmal and Chichén Itzá.


Research History

During an inspection trip by the Spanish Franciscan Alonso Ponce in 1588, the city had long been in ruins. His secretary, Ciudad Real, gives a relatively detailed description. The first modern description comes from Jean Frédéric Maximilien de Waldeck (his connection with the German noble house of the same name is unconfirmed), who visited Uxmal in 1835.

Inspired by Waldeck's report, the North American explorer John Lloyd Stephens, accompanied by Frederick Catherwood as a draftsman and architect, undertook two extensive journeys through Central America. On these he also visited Uxmal and described numerous ruins, which Catherwood illustrated. The reports written by Stephens made the Central American ruins – and among them in an important place Uxmal – known to those interested in North America and Europe. Works of art taken from the buildings by him later perished in a fire in New York. Stephen's descriptions inspired, among others, the Frenchman Désiré Charnay to undertake research trips, on which he took numerous photographs, as well as the Austrian Baron Emmanuel von Friedrichsthal, who, however, did not publish his report.

Teobert Maler was also inspired by Stephens. From 1886 he undertook extensive archaeological research trips on the Yucatan Peninsula. In Uxmal, he only took numerous, documentarily excellent photos. An architectural investigation, which also included Uxmal, was undertaken soon after him by William Herny Holmes. The German scholar Eduard Seler used his drawings as well as records and photographs provided by the painter in a book publication about Uxmal. Painter also advised Sylvanus G. Morley before his visit to Uxmal in 1907, during which he made the first reliable measurements.

In 1927, as a brief study by Federico Mariscal shows, no excavations and restorations had yet taken place in Uxmal, the visit itself was difficult. It was not until 1930 that Frans Blom undertook very detailed measurements in the Nun's Quadrangle, on the basis of which a lifelike reproduction was made for the World's Fair in Chicago in 1933, but this has not been preserved. In this context, the first precise and somewhat complete mapping of the most important groups of ruins was carried out by Robert H. Merrill.

The earliest restorations were undertaken after 1936 on behalf of the Mexican Ministry of Education (Secretaría de Educación Pública) by José A. Erosa Peniche, whose documentation became the basis of a detailed account by Ignacio Marquina. At the same time, but independently, Harry Pollock studied numerous construction complexes outside the center of Uxmal. In 1941, Sylvanus Morley carried out minor excavations on the facades of the main pyramid.

In addition to the measures for the restoration and stabilization of the buildings by the INAH, which have been ongoing since the 1940s, only a few research-related investigations took place: an analysis of the urban complex and the monumental architecture was carried out by George F. Andrews. In his dissertation, completed in 1981, Jeff Kowalski published an architectural-art-historical treatise on the Governor's Palace, which also includes a comprehensive account of Uxmal's cultural-historical role. This treatise is supplemented by a study by Alfredo Barrera Rubio based on the excavations of the northern platform edge of the governor's complex. Kowalski, who at the beginning of the 21st century can be considered the undisputed authority for the cultural history of Uxmal, has also excavated a building that completely fell out of scope in Uxmal, the round Pyramid.

As part of his wide-ranging documentation of Mayan inscriptions, Ian Graham has published two sub-volumes on Uxmal, which contain the first complete mapping of the city (the southern extent that Graham had included in his mapping was not published with).

The modern archaeological works in Uxmal were mainly aimed at making the ruin site accessible to tourism and stopping the decay of the best-preserved buildings. This task was completed no later than 1970. Since then, the necessarily more hypothetical reconstruction of heavily decayed buildings has become increasingly important. However, most of Uxmal is still covered by dense forest and is not accessible to visitors. Outside the archaeological zone, there are other partially uncovered ruins on the grounds of immediately adjacent hotels. The old city extended far into the surrounding area: the official definition of the area of Uxmal by the INAH covers an area of more than 10 square kilometers.


Research problems

The history of Uxmal is almost unknown. Archaeological research, despite a great achievement in the field of conservation and reconstruction, has been only superficial. This is already evident in the fact that even with minor works on buildings that have been reconstructed for a long time, which go a little deeper for technical reasons, older cultural layers are discovered again and again. The most important path of knowledge so far is still the history of architecture, more precisely the sequence of building and decoration styles and their (hypothetical) development. Since buildings of the last stylistic phase, the "Late Uxmal style", can only be found here, Uxmal is the focal point of this branch of research. The few hieroglyphic inscriptions have so far provided little insight into the political and social conditions. Moreover, they are practically limited only to the period of the turn of the 9th-10th centuries.

The reports from the colonial period mention Uxmal regularly, but they are terse in their statements and are assessed as not very authentic. Códice Pérez, for example, alludes to a political connection with Chichén Itzá and Mayapán, although here too it is apparently a later interpolation. Such a political connection, which is repeatedly mentioned in modern literature under the name "League of Mayapán", is hardly conceivable for archaeological reasons alone, since the latter two cities did not exist simultaneously. Nevertheless, individual similarities in the iconography cannot be denied, such as the depiction of feathered snakes or Toltec costume elements and armament, which do not belong to the canon of Mayan depictions. The archaeological literature also controversially discusses how long Uxmal and Chichén Itzá overlapped in time and what effects this may have had on the development of Chichén Itzá. The question is also open as to which sphere of political power Uxmal may have dominated at the time of his heyday. Whether the "Sacbé" according to Nohpat and Kabah can be considered an indication of this is the subject of controversial debate.


Geology and ecology

Uxmal is located at about 50 meters above sea level, in a slightly undulating karst landscape, which is bounded in the north and south at a distance of 10 kilometers by a terrain level that is about 100 to 150 meters higher each. In this basically waterless landscape, deep soils were formed from the weathering material of the limestone, which are easily usable for indigenous agriculture. In shallow depressions of different sizes, especially around Uxmal, sedimentation led to natural sealing, so that the rainwater flowing off the surface could collect and survive well into the dry season.

These Aguadas were artificially expanded by the Maya and provided with well-like water collectors at the deepest points. The cheap water supply represented an important location advantage for the city. In the 19th century, the Aguadas were largely drained to prevent malaria. In addition, numerous cisterns can be found in Uxmal, as in the entire region. The groundwater table is located at a depth of about 65 meters and was unattainable with the technical capabilities of the Maya.

The region of Uxmal is covered by a mostly deciduous dry forest with maximum tree heights of 15 meters, which is a secondary vegetation throughout, which is the result of continuous clearing for the purpose of creating fields in the Milpa system. The annual precipitation is 900 mm, but with significant fluctuations, the average annual temperature is 26 °C.


Tourist development

In Uxmal, the center of the old town has been largely restored. The impression that the visitor receives corresponds to the state of the city in the 10th century, when the first signs of decay appeared on the monumental buildings. At that time, the originally white-stuccoed and completely free areas of the courtyards were already partially covered with vegetation, between which numerous low buildings made of perishable material stood (see C-shaped buildings).

However, the trees planted in the 1980s south of the Nuns' quadrangle and on the platform of the Governor's Palace give a distorted picture. Most of Uxmal is now covered by forest and not accessible to visitors. The reasons are, on the one hand, the danger from the cistern openings scattered everywhere, on the other hand, the risk of damage to archaeological remains.

In Uxmal there is a small museum in the visitor center. In addition, an evening light and sound show was set up. In 1996, Uxmal was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List as a cultural monument.

On March 30, 2015, the memorial was included in the International Register of Cultural Property under Special Protection of the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in Armed Conflicts.


Types of construction in Uxmal

Overall, the buildings of Uxmal are largely scattered randomly over the site. They extend to a distance of one to two kilometers from the center, especially to the south. The simple residential buildings of the rural population extend far beyond that.

The earliest buildings are small buildings in early forms of the Puuc style, they are found concentrated in the North Group. According to some rather random finds, there are often early constructions under or in the core of later buildings, or these were demolished at all in ancient times. The buildings, accessible and restored for tourism, belong to the late variants of the Puuc style, especially the Late Uxmal style, which is dated to the late 9th and early 10th centuries. A more exact scientific dating fails because the inaccuracy of the calibration in particular (calibration on the basis of tree ring data, but in other regions of the earth, and their fluctuations due to natural changes) is greater than the assumed duration of the style phases. Only a few dated inscriptions give more precise indications (see below). The decisive factor for the classification into phases of the Puuc style is primarily the design of the facades and their stone decor, which are therefore presented in more detail here, together with structural details. From the probable development of the decorative forms from simpler to more and more complex, Pollock first developed the style sequence.

Towards the end of the settlement period of Uxmal, as in the other cities of the Puuc, a social change occurred, which is expressed in a change in the use of stone buildings: the wide, multi-divided entrances, which have occupied almost the entire front of some buildings and thus made them suitable for representative tasks, but hardly for residential purposes, were walled up. Only a narrow entrance remained. From this it can be concluded that the buildings were no longer used in their representative function, but as apartments. Accordingly, even passageways were transformed into interiors. Examples of this can be found in the Vogel-Plaza. In Uxmal, as in the whole region, there are buildings whose construction has been abandoned (for example, the summit building of the Casa de la Vieja).


Palace complexes

Characteristic of the urban complex of Uxmal are large courtyards, which are bordered on three sides by elevated elongated palace buildings (each with two parallel rows of rooms). The fourth side is occupied either by a raised building or a massive pyramid, on the height of which there was also a small palace-like building. In some cases, the courtyard complexes are also staggered one after the other, as in the complex of the Pigeon House.


C-shaped buildings

There are also many so-called C-shaped buildings in Uxmal. The designation makes clear the embarrassment of archeology with these buildings. They have only rear and side walls, the front is open, there were sometimes stone columns that had been taken from other buildings and that must have supported the roof, which was made of perishable material; but mostly the beams were made of wood. Along the back wall there is always a brick bench of different widths, which is sometimes interrupted by parts protruding further forward.

The function of these buildings is unclear. There is little reason to use them as residential buildings, since they offer neither protection from the weather nor guarantee privacy due to the elongated shape without a closed front wall. The only thing that is clear is that wherever they occur, they belong to the latest phase of settlement. In Uxmal, the C-shaped buildings are located mainly in the courtyards of the palace groups. A collection of these buildings has been uncovered between the platform of the Governor's Palace and the Adivino Pyramid. But there are also such C-shaped buildings that have side rooms, in one case even with a brick vault.

C-shaped buildings can be found in a wide area from the Petén in Guatemala to the northern Yucatán, for example in Ek Balam and Culubá. They seem to be preforms for the elongated pillared halls in Chichén Itzá and Mayapán.


Urban development

Characteristic of Uxmal are the large, almost square squares, which were framed on all sides by elongated buildings in the classical Puuc style and a late variant (the Late Uxmal style), which only occurs here. The courses are oriented north-south. The modern design with numerous shady trees (planted after 1980) does not reflect the original situation, which was characterized by large squares with white stucco flooring.

It is assumed that about 25,000 people lived on the territory of the city, the core zone of which was surrounded by a low wall. The total populated area around is estimated at 10 km2. Uxmal was connected to the south-eastern city of Kabah by a wide, paved sacbé via the medium-sized city of Nohpat, which has not yet been archaeologically investigated and is not accessible, but the starting point of this road is probably not in the center of Uxmal itself, but in a small group of ruins to the east.


Important building complexes

The central buildings of Uxmal (all names are from recent times and have no relation to the actual function of the buildings) are located on an area of 0.5 km2, with a deviation of about 17 ° clockwise from the cardinal directions. The central part of Uxmal was surrounded by a low wall with numerous interruptions, which could not have been a defensive structure. Presumably, a certain district was symbolically delimited with this wall.


The complex of the Governor's Palace

Large platform

The complex includes several buildings on a very large common platform measuring 185 × 164 meters, which rises between 7 and 14 meters high above the slightly undulating terrain. Hidden in the body of this platform is a natural elevation, due to which the building material to be used has been reduced. The outside of the platform was divided into 6 to 7 steps and was set on a slightly larger but low platform, which compensated for the unevenness of the terrain.

The corners of the actual platform consisted of very large, rounded stone blocks. Two staircases led to the platform from the north: one that aimed directly at the northern entrance to the Turtle House, and another that reached the surface of the platform approximately in front of the governor's Palace. Another staircase existed from the west side behind the so-called Old "Chenes" temple. It has not yet been clarified whether there was another staircase immediately to the east of the main pyramid.


Governor's Palace (Palacio del Gobernador)

The Governor's Palace, a building of 100 meters in length, stands a little to the west of the center of the described large platform on another, smaller, long and narrow platform of about 109 meters in length, to which a 40-meter-wide staircase leads up from the east. The building is divided into three parts, which were originally connected by two covered gate buildings, which were later partially walled up and converted into small rooms.

The 14 rooms of different sizes are arranged in two parallel rows. The back rooms, as is the rule, are located a little higher. In addition, there are three rooms at the outermost corners that do not have this pattern. Two of them are the only ones that can be entered through an entrance on the narrow side of the building (the north and south sides). The central room of the main facade is clearly the most important one here too, because it is distinguished by three entrances and the facade decor (see below) is also oriented towards it. All rooms impress with the unusual height of both the lower wall surface up to the base of the vault, as well as the vault itself. All doors had two door beams made of Chicozapote wood, which were replaced by those made of concrete only during the restoration.

Stephens took out the door beams of the middle entrance sculpted with hieroglyphs, they were later burned in New York. The intensive use of this wood, which is very resistant to termites, makes it clear that at that time there must have been sufficient stocks of this tree, which today only occurs in areas several hundred kilometers away, close to times. Similar to the buildings of the nuns' quadrangle, the outer doorways were framed, as it were, by a slightly larger superimposed doorway with another wooden beam. The unusually thick back wall (2.5 to 3 meters) made early explorers search in vain for hidden treasures there.

On the terrace next to the building there is a stone figure of two jaguars fused together, which represents a two-headed jaguar throne and served as a seat for the ruler.

The facade layout adheres to the rules of the late Uxmal style, but is particularly elaborate here. The base of the building consists of three elements, two smooth bands framing a band located further inside, which alternately has smooth surfaces and groups of four low columns. The lower wall surface is smooth, it is bounded at the top by the central cornice, which is kept simple and consists of three elements: a smooth ribbon, which is framed at the top and bottom by oppositely protruding ribbons of oblique cross section. At the corners, large fully plastic snake heads protrude from the middle band.

The upper wall surface bears all the decor of the Governor's Palace. The pictorial program is very complex and cannot be described in detail here. It consists of a multiple combination of the following elements: step meanders, that is, angular spirals with a lateral step row leading to the beginning of the spiral. These step meanders occur in a left- and right-oriented manner, each in a mirror image of the other. Between them there are fields with diamond grid patterns.

The stepped meanders are arranged only seemingly in two horizontal registers (horizontal rows), in fact their height is less than half of the upper wall area, so there is still space above or below them. This place is occupied by a chain of chaak masks, which are arranged partly horizontally, partly at an angle like a staircase.

Above the central entrance, apparently later installed in front of lattice panels, there are eight horizontal smooth stripes (similar to the east building of the nuns' quadrangle), on which flat snake heads sit on both ends. On the ribbons, in extension of the snake heads, slightly behind, there are higher ribbons decorated with mock hieroglyphs (signs that look like hieroglyphs, but do not correspond to real signs and therefore, of course, do not reflect any content).

A ninth row is barely recognizable inserted into the horizontal row of masks at this point, but without the horizontal band, which would have collided here with the far protruding noses of the masks. In the center of these ribbons-snakes protrudes a high feather headdress, under which the figure of a dignitary sitting on a throne almost disappears. The throne is fitted in a semicircular arch, from which, in turn, snake heads protrude on both sides.

The upper cornice has a peculiar design: a narrow ribbon runs over an oblique ribbon, around which an equally narrow one alternately winds in front and behind. The upper end is formed by a high, protruding band. The narrow sides of the Governor's Palace bear the same decor of stepped meanders and lattice squares, the back side only lattice squares.


Turtle House (Casa de las Tortugas)

The Turtle House, so-called because of its decor in the upper cornice, is a typical classic building of the Puuc style. It is located on the large terrace of the Governor's Palace a few meters north of the palace on a later added part of the large platform. A large staircase leads up to the turtle house from the north on the platform.

The floor plan of the building is clearly structured: on both narrow sides and the south side there are two rooms arranged one behind the other, the outer one has three entrances, the inner one. The inner rooms are one step higher. On the north side there is only one entrance, which leads to a single elongated room.

The facades have the usual structure: a smooth wall surface rises above a simple base cornice made of a high, slightly shod row of stones up to the height of the door beams, which were originally made of wood. The central cornice consists of three elements: a smooth ribbon in the middle and an upward and downward and outward projecting ribbon. The upper wall surface has columns, the upper cornice is similar to the central one, with the protruding bands being higher. The mentioned turtles are sitting on the middle band. The construction quality is excellent, it reminds of the governor's Palace in many details. The building was reconstructed in its collapsed central part around 1968.


C-shaped building southeast of the Governor's Palace

On the platform of the Governor's Palace, just like in most building complexes, there is a so-called C-shaped building. The building next to the Governor's Palace is the largest known building of this type, it has not been excavated, but it is still easy to recognize as such, since it is almost not covered by rubble from a vault (which does not exist here).

The row of hewn stones at the back (in the picture on the right) comes from the bench running along the back wall and the low wall base, on which a wooden wall structure may have been placed. There is no corresponding rubble on the front: here the building was open, the supposed roof rested on wooden supports. The location of this C-shaped building is unusual. Usually they are found in small groups or in pairs in the interior or middle of courtyards, while the building here rather frames the platform in front of the governor's Palace. This – together with the building running at right angles to it, which is described as in the next section – could indicate a different function or time position.


Portico east of the Governor's Palace

Opposite the Governor's Palace on the same large platform there is an elongated non-exposed building, the truncated columns of which, protruding from the rubble, indicate a building similar to the south building of the Bird Plaza. It is believed that it was a portico with three rooms behind it. The upper facade seems to have been decorated with columns and ik elements.


Buildings north of the platform of the Governor's Palace

Close to the northern foot of the platform on which the Governor's Palace stands, a small building was excavated and completely reconstructed, which is noticeable by columns made of stone blocks that divide the entrance. At a later date, the side entrances were closed by unclean masonry. In the rubble of the interior there was a vaulted ceiling stone, which is unusually well preserved (in the reconstruction it was replaced by a replica).


Older buildings west of the Governor's Palace

Halfway up the large platform of the Governor's Palace there is a wide landing on which there are two buildings, which were later enclosed by the platform and partially half-covered. They are therefore to be classified earlier in time than the erection of the platform and the turtle house standing on it in the immediate vicinity. The landing can be reached by a wide staircase from the courtyard in front of the main pyramid.

The south of the two buildings consists of two rows of three rooms each in an east-west direction, of which the middle one, of whose slightly protruding front wall only small remains have been preserved, had a facade design in the Chenes style.

The northern building also has two rows of three rooms, the entrances to which are oriented to the west. According to the remains of the facade preserved on the back, it is a building in the classical columned style.


Ball Playground (Juego de Pelota)

The ball playground is located between the platforms of the Nuns' Quadrangle to the north and the Governor's Palace to the south, it is oriented approximately north-south. As with all late classic ball playgrounds, it is formed from two massive blocks of walls, between which, between low benches, the play alley (34 meters × 10 meters) runs, in which the actual game took place. The lateral wall blocks, which are 7.4 meters high, mainly served as the reflex wall from which the ball hitting them was directed back into the play alley. The reflective walls were accordingly kept smooth.

A stone ring was embedded in the middle of each side (of which only remnants are preserved in Uxmal). The goal of the ball game was to hit through the ring with the ball made of solid rubber, whereby the ball could only be played with the hip. Both rings were provided with an inscription that has only partially survived, on which the (reconstructed) dates of January 9, 905 (converted to the Julian calendar) are contained. The side benches had plastic rattlesnake bodies on their upper edge. On the upper surface of the two lateral wall blocks there were buildings with three-part entrances, to which stairs led up from the outside. These buildings are largely destroyed.


Pyramid of the Magician (Pirámide del Adivino)

The ruin zone of Uxmal is dominated by the Pyramid of the Sorcerer, a pyramid with a rectangular plan, the corners of which are rounded for a wide area. The body of the pyramid is covered with roughly worked stones, the cladding visible today is to a large extent the result of work to stabilize the structure. At least five construction phases can be distinguished on the pyramid. The traditional designation of the individual components as "temples" says nothing about the actual function.


Temple I

The oldest component is an originally independent building, which forms the eastern boundary of the Vogelhof – but the peripheral development of which did not yet fully exist at that time. The so-called temple I is a typical building in the classical Puuc style, consisting of two parallel rows of 5 rooms each, with the rear (eastern) row being accessible through the rooms of the western row. At each end there was a transversely running space. The middle entrance later came to lie under the western staircase and is no longer visible today.

Some of the rooms were probably filled with rubble stone masonry during the construction of the last phase of the pyramid for stability reasons. The doors had door beams made of two wooden beams each, which have only been preserved in one place. There is a radiocarbon dating of one of the bars to 740-760 AD (laboratory number Hei 15505, confidence interval 1 Sigma, corresponds to a 68% probability that the tree's precipitation date falls within the specified period). At the corners there are inserted thick corner columns.

The design of the facade consists of a base of three elements: between two smooth bands, a series of low columns, alternating with smooth surfaces, runs around the entire building. The lower wall surface is smooth, made of well-cut facing bricks. Between the doors and the doors and corners there are three fields with three columns each, which extend over the entire height of the lower wall. The column fields of the wall do not correlate with those of the plinth.

The central cornice is unusually strong and variously decorated. It consists of oversized monolithic elements, the front side of which protrudes downwards and outwards. The lower edge is decorated with simple stepped cone-like elements in the form of the "ik" symbol (similar to a "T" with three bars of the same length), the front side bears figurative motifs, tendrils, fish, braided ribbons, crossed long bones and individual short hieroglyphic texts in bas-relief. Above this lowest element follows a continuous row of cranked columns, above it another band, reminiscent of flat-lying columns, which have regular incisions around their circumference.

The upper surface of the wall is smooth, but has been pierced above the entrances by large Chaac masks with the characteristic proboscis, placed twice on top of each other. Above the middle entrance, perfectly preserved under the later staircase, was the fully sculptural representation of the Reina de Uxmal (Queen of Uxmal), in fact the partially tattooed face of a priest emerging from the throat of a stylized snake. This figure was removed during the restoration work. Above it are two large, perfectly preserved trunk masks, which have not been visible since the last restorations, since the passage was closed for stability reasons. The upper cornice is no longer preserved in its original storage, from the elements found in the rubble it is possible to think of a similar design to that of the middle cornice.


Temple II

The first section of the actual pyramid was built in the second construction phase. It has its center point a little to the east of the rear facade of the first building, which partially covered it, and reached a height of 22 meters. For reasons of stability, its rear rooms were partially filled with stone masonry. This first pyramid carried on its platform an east-facing building consisting of a portico supported by 8 columns (the figure is hypothetical, since the excavation inside the later pyramid did not reach the ends of the building).

Access to this building was made from the east side by a wide staircase. At a later time, the elongated room of the portico was divided into three rooms by two transverse walls, each enclosing one of the columns, which thus took the form of entrances, which were supported by 2 columns each. The facade to the sides of the row of columns is smooth. A ridge of the roof protruded above the rear wall of the building, but it may also have belonged to Temple III, and it is visible through an opening in the floor of temple V created during the excavations.


Temple II

 A small building was later added to the rear wall of this building, consisting of two rooms in a row and facing west (Temple III), to which a staircase, recognizable only in traces, led. The rear half of the front room and the rear were bricked up at a later date to increase the stability for the temple V above. The temple was completely covered by later buildings, it can only be reached through a modern tunnel from the middle of the east staircase.

The facade of this building has a two-part central cornice and a three-part upper cornice, which correspond to the usual one in the Puuc style. Stone pegs protrude from the inwardly inclined upper half of the wall, such as the upper cornice, for fixing a stucco decoration that has no longer been preserved.


Temple IV

Around and above Temple III and extending it to the front, the so-called Chenes building was built, to which a staircase leads from the Vogel Plaza, which goes over the facade of the lowest building and partially covers it. The entrance to the central room of Temple I was opened through an arched passage (it is walled up today). For weight loss, a vault was also erected over the roof of Temple I, which had no other function. The staircase has a continuous chain of masks of the rain god Chaac on its edges.

The building surprises with a facade and an entrance in the style of the Chenes Dragon Mouth entrances, which are actually native to the Chenes and Río Bec area. The interior is very high, the base of the vault is over 4 meters high. The entrance was supported by two wooden beams.


Temple V

The youngest and highest building with three narrow rooms in the north-south direction is located immediately above Temple II at the level of the upper end of the ridge of the roof (which, according to excavations, is visible through a trapdoor). A new, steeper staircase was created on the east side, which completely covered Temple II, as well as two staircases on the west side, passing by the Chenes building on the side. The building is remarkable because it faces the two main sides of the pyramid with the two stairs at the same time. The middle room has its door entrance to the west, the two rooms at the northern and southern ends have entrances to the east, which initially lead to a narrow platform, which can be reached via the wide staircase in the middle.

The facade of the west side stands on a plinth, where two smooth bands frame a recessed band of columns. The lower wall surface on both sides of the single entrance consists of two fields with serrated stones (chimez) set diagonally crosswise, in the middle of each of which a fully sculptural stone figure was fixed, of which only remains are preserved. Laterally, the wall surfaces are smooth.

The central cornice consists of a protruding smooth band, framed by two bands protruding obliquely outward. The upper wall surface has four individually standing meanders, in front of which a rectangular peg protrudes from the wall, which probably carried a figure. The upper cornice is designed the same as the middle one, only slightly higher.

The facade of the east side bears significantly less ornamentation. The lower half of the wall is smooth, and from the upper one it is separated by the usual three-band cornice. Not much can be said about the upper wall surface because of the severe destruction: extending the center line of the east staircase, there is a plastic image of a traditional house with a palm-leaf roof here.

Climbing the pyramid, which was damaged in a hurricane, is no longer allowed for reasons of stability. Only the lowest building is accessible to visitors.


Bird Square (Plaza de los Pájaros)

The courtyard is located between the Pyramid of the Sorcerer and the Nuns' Quadrangle. The name comes from the facade decoration of the south-eastern building, which depicts birds. The courtyard is bordered by four buildings. The building to the east was the only one that remained standing. With the exception of a small remnant of the western building, the other three had collapsed completely and were reconstructed from 1988 to 1994.[25] There is a conical altar stone in the middle of the courtyard. The sequence of construction of the structures is reconstructed as follows: on an early platform, the eastern building was erected first, then the northern and southern buildings, and finally the two parts of the western building. Finally, the two middle rooms were placed in front of the facade of the west building.


West Building

To the west there is a complex building with an arched passage in the center (at least it was reconstructed in this way). The northern and southern halves of the building are designed the same way: three rooms each with simple entrances. The facade corresponds to the classic Puuc style. The base consists of a simple row of stones, the lower wall surfaces are smooth.

The central cornice consists of three members: a band projecting downwards and outwards, above it an uninterrupted row of low columns and a third, smooth band. The upper half of the wall is formed from small columns, which in the middle have a bond imitated in stone. The upper cornice consists of four elements: from below a smooth ribbon, a lower-lying ribbon of low columns, again a smooth ribbon, and above it the usual finish of high, obliquely upward-protruding stones on the outside.

At a later date, an extension was put in front of the middle rooms. The annexes have three entrances, which were originally covered with wooden door beams. In the rubble of these entrances, 22 small inscription elements were found, which, however, do not contain readable text, but only pseudo-hieroglyphs.

The central cornice of the facade, like the older part of the building, consists of three elements, but they are decorated differently. The lower, protruding band imitates the ends of palm leaves, the middle one shows the ’chimez’ pattern, which is interpreted in different ways and perhaps represents the rattles of rattlesnakes. The third element merges into the upper wall surface, which depicts the rows of palm leaves of the traditional roofing. Several stone birds are set on these, which have given the name to the building and the courtyard.

The upper cornice, which is similar to that of the older building, forms the end towards the top, except that the top row of stones again shows a palm leaf relief. At the corners, a stony, wide-open reptile's throat protrudes from the row of columns. The side entrances to the projecting room, but also some others, have been made narrower in later times, apparently in order to make the buildings, which originally served rather representative purposes, more usable for residential purposes. The facade design in the area of the arched passage is unknown and was not accessible even from elements in the rubble, which justifies doubts about the reconstruction.


North, South and East buildings

The north building consists of two rows of rooms located in a row parallel to the facade. Three entrances each led to the two side rooms. Later, the side of these entrances were bricked up. The middle entrance has three columns. The reconstruction of the facade is hypothetical and is based on the usual design of facades, taking into account the elements found in the rubble.

The southern building is formed by a long portico supported by 13 columns, behind which there are three rooms in the same direction. In the portico there is a brick seating platform near the passage to the middle rear room. The reconstruction of the facade is hypothetical. Numerous stone spigots were recovered from the rubble of the completely collapsed building, so that the assumption is justified that the upper wall surface was smooth and the stone spigots protruded from it (but hardly so indiscriminately distributed and protruding as far as in the reconstruction), which were supposed to give support to a deep decor of plastic stucco.

To the east of the courtyard is the elongated lower building of the Temple I of the Sorcerer's Pyramid, which is described in the section on the pyramid.


House of the Iguana (Casa de la Iguana)

The building is located south of the Vogelplaza and consists of an elongated portico supported on its west side by 11 columns. The building had completely collapsed and was completely reconstructed. Therefore, no reliable statements can be made about its facade and other details.


Nun's Quadrangle (Cuadrángulo de las Monjas)

The four palace buildings of the nunnery quadrangle, which have been completely reconstructed today, are located around a recessed, rectangular courtyard. The main access is from the south, where the badly destroyed ball playground is located outside the quadrangle, via a wide staircase and a gate passage through the southern building. The architecture of the nun's quadrangle best represents the late Uxmal variant of the Puuc style. Two painted vaulted cornerstones from the complex of the Nun's Quadrangle bear data for the years 906 and 907 and thus form the last reliably readable data preserved in the entire Puuc region.


South Building

The south building is located at the level of the inner courtyard. It consists of two identical, mirror-like elongated buildings (80 meters), the main part of which has two rows of four rooms each, open to the courtyard and the outside (north and south). The buildings are connected by an archway, which provides access to the courtyard from the large south staircase. This is the only monumental and representative access to the entire complex. At the outer ends of the two sub-buildings there are two small, two-room buildings slightly set back, which are only accessible from the courtyard and were built later.

The upper half of the wall shows two interrelated motifs: on the inward-facing facade, above each of the entrances, there is a depiction of a hut with a palm-leaf roof with masks of the rain god, from which smoke or clouds rise. The areas between the huts are decorated with latticework and smooth surfaces with groups of three columns with a central binding.

The facade of the outside has largely fallen off, from the remains preserved near the west corner it can be seen that it was designed similarly to the facade of the inside. The middle and upper cornice are structurally the same: two sloping bands frame a smooth, protruding one. The upper cornice is significantly higher.


East Building

The eastern and western buildings are elevated by several flights of stairs opposite the courtyard. The building has 14 interiors, which are laid out in a complex layout. In principle, these are two identically designed parallel rows of 7 rooms, but only 5 entrances to the outside (or to the front rooms) correspond to them, because one side room departs from the front and rear middle rooms on each side. The two central rooms are larger than all the others.

The back and the narrow sides are kept relatively simple: above a completely smooth lower wall surface, the upper wall surfaces show an alternation of also smooth surfaces and fields with a grid pattern. Quadruple cascades of Chaac masks can be seen at the corners. The front side shows a dilemma: because of the large central space with its side chambers, the distance between the central entrance and the side entrances is very large. In order not to transfer this imbalance to the facade decoration, the upper wall surface was divided into seven sections of approximately the same length: six, of which the outer two correspond to the entrances, and two above the smooth wall part on both sides of the middle entrance show an identical motif of parallel double-headed snakes (increasing in length from bottom to top), from the middle of which an owl face with a large feather decoration protrudes at the top, which is mostly missing today. Three masks of the Chaac are arranged one above the other above the middle entrance. There the upper cornice is interrupted and replaced by three parallel snakes, very similar to those above the other entrances.

The base consists of three elements, the middle one with alternating groups of four low columns and smooth surfaces is framed by two smooth bands. The central cornice consists of four elements, a ribbon of a continuous sequence of low columns, framed by two smooth ribbons, and above it an obliquely protruding ribbon. The upper cornice is almost identical, with the uppermost band being heavily overhung. Stone rosettes sit at intervals in front of the column band.


West Building

The building to the west of the courtyard has seven entrances, each leading into a room and out of it into a room behind it. In this respect, the floor plan is the least demanding of the nuns' quadrangle. The entrances have a characteristic of the late Uxmal style: around the actual entrance there is an entrance larger in height and width on the outside, which forms a frame, as it were.

The facade facing the courtyard is the most complex of the nuns' quadrangle. It has the most complex picture program of the nun's quadrangle in the upper wall surface (the lower one is smooth). Above the middle entrance there is a throne with an oversized feather canopy. On the throne sits a very small figure of a dignitary, apparently of advanced age. The background is formed by precious feathers. From this central image, two snake bodies, which are intertwined again and again, are pulled out, which are studded with feathers and represent the idea of the quetzalcoatl or quetzalcoatl. Kukulkan seems to indicate. They frame and structure the remaining facade.

The same motif can be found above the adjacent entrances, but obviously with less significance. Then follow the ends to cascades of masks of the Chaac and finally the motifs of the house with palm leaf roof and Chaac mask, which are already known from the south building. At the corners, the usual chaac masks stacked on top of each other. In the fields between the entrances, backgrounds with grid patterns and chimez motifs alternate, in front of which human and animal figures stand out fully plastically. The most striking features near the second entrance from the north are a head and a rattled end of the huge snakes. A human face looks out from the opened snake's mouth. It is believed that these snakes were later added to the already completed facade.

The tripartite cornices are simple, without any special decorative elements, except for rosettes protruding at intervals from the middle band of the upper frieze. The back of the building has been largely destroyed and has not yet been reconstructed. She showed alternating grid patterns and step meanders in two registers.


North Building

The north building stands on a particularly high platform, which is kept very wide in front of the main facade facing south. A 30-meter-wide staircase leads to it in the middle from the courtyard, which is bordered on both sides by a building that stands on the level of the courtyard. These buildings are identically designed but of different sizes: they consist of two rooms, the front of which is open to the courtyard through a portico. The difference is in the number of brick piers of the portico: four for the western building, only two for the eastern one.

Only the facade of the western building has been preserved: a smooth wall surface follows above a tripartite base with a retracted middle band, in which columns alternate with smooth surfaces. The piers are equipped with a base and a capital, and like them are decorated in relief. The central cornice is four-membered, with an oblique band at the bottom, two smooth bands and again an opposite oblique band at the top. In the upper wall area, the areas with a crossed grid of chimez stones dominate, into which smaller fields with a meander-like motif are inserted above each of the partial entrances. The corners wear simple chaac masks. The upper wall area is relatively low, because the height of the building was limited by the level of the platform in front of the actual north building. The upper cornice is tripartite with smooth bands bent at the top and bottom, with rosettes protruding from the middle band at intervals.

The actual north building consists of two rows of eleven rooms, with the back row being accessible only through the front rooms. There are also two rooms located one behind the other on the two narrow sides, so that the total number of rooms is 26 with 13 external entrances. The north facade has no entrances. The central entrance of the south facade is wider than all the others. As with the east and west buildings, the entrances here are also designed in the described frame shape.

The building has a more complex history of origin than the others of the Nuns' Quadrangle: the oldest building did not have the four side rooms. The older building had a different facade to this one, but it was demolished and nothing is known about its decorative content (on the north facade, during the reconstruction work, a small area of the view to the lower wall surface and the middle cornice of the older facade was left open). Subsequently, the lateral rooms were added in a further construction phase. Finally, the entire building was sheathed with a new facade. In this form, the north building is the youngest of the nuns' quadrangle.

The picture program combines motifs from the facades of the other parts of the nun's quadrangle. The base consists of a band with alternating smooth parts and groups of three columns, framed by two smooth bands. The lower wall surface is smooth everywhere. The central cornice is also kept simple, consisting of three elements, the middle of which is a smooth ribbon, which is accompanied by sloped ribbons at the top and bottom. An outstanding and structuring element are the high cascades of Chaac masks, which, together with the similarly designed corner cascades, considerably exceed the roof surface. Their original number is uncertain, as the facade was only partially sufficiently well preserved.

Above some of the entrances there are representations of traditional Mayan houses, the first of which form various double-headed snakes. A comparison with the smoke clouds of the hearth fire, which emerge from the house representations of the southern building, suggests a symbolic equation. In front of one of these houses is the fully plastic representation of two jaguars, whose tails are intertwined, a motif that can be found similarly in other places in Uxmal. Between the cascades and the houses, diagonally placed Chimez stones alternate in two registers around central rhombuses with large-scale meandering steps. In these fields there are prominent figures from the facade surface, such as the (incomplete) of a bound prisoner and that of an owl with a human face. A high, quadruple cascade of Chaac masks is installed above every second entrance. The design of the facades on the narrow sides of the north building is not known, apart from the corner cascades.

The back of the building is kept simpler. In regular succession, smooth surfaces alternate with those with an oblique grid. In all smooth surfaces, stone pedestals protruded from the wall above the central cornice, on which in one case a part of a male figure with a bared genitals has been preserved. At the height of the head of these figures, the facade has an exactly worked round hole, into which – as is assumed for various similarly designed monuments of the wider region – a skull of a killed person was inserted instead of the head made of stone.[26] The upper cornice of the whole building consists in principle of three links: two smooth bands framing a continuous row of low columns. The obliquely projecting band, which is usually located above it, is so much elevated here that it is actually necessary to speak of a separate wall surface, especially since the oblique position is hardly formed anymore.


Annex Building

The two elongated buildings, known as the Annex, run parallel to the east building of the Nuns' quadrangle and a little to the east of it. They are two identical buildings, originally separated by a narrow passage, which (similar to the Governor's Palace) was later closed and covered with a vault. The similarity of the two buildings obscures the architectural history: first the southern building was erected, then the northern one followed, in connection with its construction, the connecting arch to the southern building was built, which was later made impassable by a transverse wall and transformed into a semi-open interior, similar to the two connecting arches at the Governor's Palace.

The two buildings are designed identically, they consist of two unusually long rooms. The front of the rooms was to be entered through three entrances, which were separated by wall panes, a simple entrance leads to the rear. The quality of the construction is extremely high, which can also be seen in the very large span of the vaults. It is 4.1 meters in the rear room of the northern building, and even 4.35 meters in the southern one, which is probably the largest span of a room in the entire Mayan area.

Also noteworthy is the construction of the outer walls of the southern building, which consists not of a core of bulk masonry and non-load-bearing facing bricks, as usual, but of massive stone blocks extending over the entire width of the wall, which are almost set in the runner's union. The characteristic facing stones are missing, as are the door jambs made of several stone blocks. It seems to have been an experiment here, which can only be found (but less qualitatively executed) in building 6 of the Nordgruppe, but was not followed up otherwise.



The wall surfaces are smooth, numerous cones or bases for decorative elements made of stone or stucco stand out from the upper half of the wall of the southern building, which is partially preserved only on the back, of which no traces have been preserved. The three friezes each had three elements. The central frieze shows a protruding smooth band and two oblique bands above and below it. The upper frieze is designed the same but higher.


Current position

From the peculiar masonry, which also occurs in a building of the Northern Group, it can be concluded that the two buildings were erected almost simultaneously. For the Northern group, it is believed that it originated early in the history of Uxmal. The annex building should be dated similarly early, because the passage only made sense as long as the Monjas complex did not exist yet. Since the construction of the Monjuas complex meant that the passage only led to the high rear platform wall of the Monjas east building, it could be bricked up without any disadvantage. The interior painting, which is preserved in small remnants in the corners, also speaks in favor of an early period setting. It consists of a deep red painting of the wall surfaces of the vault and the lower parts of the wall, with a horizontal band of large black hieroglyphic signs on a light background running under the base of the vault. This is a hallmark of proto-Puuc and early Puuc buildings, but where this band is preferably found on the outer wall. The highly fragmentary preservation completely excludes a reading.


Main Pyramid (Pirámide Mayor)

The largest pyramid of Uxmal in terms of its volume, near the back of the Governor's Palace, is an isolated standing structure with an approximately square floor plan of 80 meters in side length. It was originally built as a pyramid with a building on the upper platform, to which a wide staircase led up on the north side. This building had five rooms in the back row of rooms and three in front of it. Access to the three middle rooms of the back row was through the rooms in front via the trunk of an oversized Chaac mask. The rooms were already filled with rubble masonry in ancient times for reasons of stability, only the central front room was cleared of rubble during the excavation. There was only one room on the other three sides.

The facade was richly decorated. On the north side, the entire lower wall surface was designed with three rows of meandering steps, which are separated by narrow representations of intertwined snakes. Depictions of parrots in bas-relief are arranged between the individual meandering steps. Nothing has been preserved from the upper half of the wall. The corners of this building are formed by three chaac masks stacked on top of each other.

The facades of the other sides are known only from small-scale exploration excavations of 1941. There, this time in the upper half of the wall, large stepped meanders with a pattern of diagonally placed crosses alternate. The lower half of the wall is unadorned there. The central cornice consists of a smooth central band, and above and below it are sloping, outwardly sloping stone slabs. In a later phase, the pyramid was raised to the level of the building roof, covering the facades of all four sides and filling all the rooms. This and other indications indicate that a large building was planned on the new surface, but it did not come to fruition.

The first excavations were carried out in 1941. The grand staircase and the northern facade were exposed and reconstructed around 1969. During conservation measures in connection with the renovation of the facilities for the light and sound show, an older facade was discovered on the north side in 2009, which is attributed to the early classical period. This older facade was closed again for reasons of stability.


The complex of the Pigeon house

This complex of several large buildings is the westernmost of the center of Uxmal. It is very badly destroyed, extensive reconstruction works carried out since 2000 on the northernmost (deepest) part give an approximate impression of the former appearance. According to the quality and type of stone processing, the complex is likely to belong to a relatively early phase in the construction history of Uxmal and has undergone several conversions.

It is divided into four large courtyards, which are located in front of the "South Pyramid" in the north. The northernmost courtyard is formed by three long buildings, only the north side of the courtyard is undeveloped except for a low platform. The two buildings on the east and west sides of the courtyard are badly destroyed, they had two rows of rooms opening to the two sides. Only the southern building, which was also largely destroyed, consists of a single row of rooms and leans with its back wall on the terrace adjoining to the south. This terrace was reached from the courtyard by a staircase that spanned the facade of the building in the center, but left a passage to the middle room free.

The free space formed by the terrace is relatively narrow and is not limited by long buildings on its sides, rather there is a direct transition to the terrace at the foot of the main pyramid on the east side. To the south, this terrace adjoins another one, on which the pigeon house is located.


Pigeon House (Edificio de las Palomas)

The so-called "pigeon house", due to the large number of slit-shaped openings in the roof ridge, consists of two parallel rows of rooms, but they are not completely symmetrical: the south side has fewer rooms than the north side. In the center there is an arched passage that connects to the next (southern) courtyard.

The well-preserved roof ridge, which consists of two horizontal registers, rests on the thicker back wall of the two rows of rooms, i.e. at the same time the middle wall of the building. The lower register consists of a smooth wall surface, which is pierced by upright rectangular "windows". The upper register is divided into triangular, gable-like sectors, which probably had seven rows of low "windows". The function of all these windows is to reduce wind resistance.

In the center of each of these pediments, in the lowest "window" row, there is a smooth surface with a protruding peg, on which there was a figure, but it has not been preserved anywhere. Also over the remaining area of the ridge of the roof are distributed cones for fixing figures or ornaments made of stucco. No statements can be made about the facades of the building, since the front walls of both sides have not been preserved.


The South Promenade

To the south of the pigeon house there is another courtyard. In addition to the pigeon house to the north, it had buildings on its west and south sides, of which only small traces are visible, while it was bordered by the main pyramid to the east. The building on the west side of the courtyard had a simple facade, which showed columns in the cornices and the upper wall surface. The south building originally had two rows of rooms on both sides and a passage in the middle, so its layout largely corresponded to the pigeon house. In contrast, a roof ridge does not appear to have been present. At a later stage, the passage from the south was blocked by a terrace, which reached up to the height of the roof of the building. The rooms, which were no longer accessible as a result, were filled with rubble and a staircase was built over the passage, which led to the terrace.

On this terrace stands the South Pyramid, which dominates the entire complex. A long staircase led up to the platform at its top. The temple building, of which two remains of vaulted rooms have been preserved, was, like the pyramid itself, relatively narrow, it had three rooms in a row and another, much narrower behind the central room, a floor plan that refers to the Chenes region located far to the south. The walls are relatively thick and partly covered with unusually large stones. The wall of the front reached higher than the roof level and probably formed a roof ridge. On the south side of the pyramid there was a series of rooms, which can be recognized only in traces. The entire complex has not yet been excavated or archaeologically studied.


Grupo del Cementerio

It is one of the court complexes typical for Uxmal. The buildings bordering it on three sides stood on high platforms. The southern building was probably interrupted in the middle by an arched passage, to which a staircase led up from the south. Opposite this entrance is the pyramid, which is significantly higher than the other platforms, had a staircase on the south side and on the surface of which there was a building consisting of one room.


West Building

Only a part of the buildings on the west side of the courtyard have been preserved. In the middle there is an elongated building with originally three entrances from the courtyard. In front of the larger central entrance there is a wide entrance platform. The entrances lead into a long, not further divided room. The two side entrances were closed with masonry made of secondary stones, but of low structural quality. In addition, there is an entrance on the south side, a rather rare element in the architecture of the region. Originally, the entrances had wooden door beams, this was replaced in modern times with concrete door beams.

The facade of the building shows the characteristics of the early Puuc architecture: the central cornice above the doors consists of two elements, a band with a profile projecting obliquely downwards and a smooth band above it. The upper cornice also consists of a smooth band and above it the high end stones projecting upwards. This cornice is interrupted above the central entrance and the corners. There are stone cones sticking out of the facade, the larger-than-life figures (made of stucco?) are likely to have held. On the roof there is a still partially preserved ridge of the roof, a narrow wall with breakthroughs, which was probably covered with stucco figures.

The two side buildings were less than half the size of the middle one and also had three entrances. The northern of these buildings has completely collapsed, from the southern one the back wall stands. The surviving components show that the two lateral buildings had the same facade design as the central building.


Across platforms

In the courtyard there are three (probably originally four) low platforms, which carry on the outer walls decor with crossed long bones and skulls, as well as shields. The iconography is likely to indicate battles of the rulers of Uxmal, which were celebrated in these monuments.

Three of the platforms have long bands with hieroglyphic inscriptions above the described decoration, but their dates cannot be classified. In a piece of text, in connection with the mention of a "star war", a name sign can be found that refers to the region of Xcalumkin.


Circular Pyramid (Pirámide Circular)

A low, round pyramid was excavated in the western part of Uxmal in the 1990s. Actually, it is a round building located on a stepped round platform of about 18 meters in diameter and almost 2.5 meters in height, also with an entrance from the north, to which an only poorly preserved staircase leads up. The building had an outer wall of a maximum height of 1 meter, on which a wall and roof structure made of perishable material must have stood. Intense burn marks show that the building was destroyed by fire. Later, as on many other ruins of the Puuc area, precious offerings were laid down in the rubble of the building. The comparison with similar constructions in other places and the construction method show that the round pyramid was built very late in the history of Uxmal, and that it is related to the numerous C-shaped buildings, one of which was directly attached to it.


Old Woman's House (Casa de la Vieja)

About 80 meters southeast of the platform of the Governor's Palace is the complex, which has not yet been further uncovered and reconstructed, consisting of a pyramid and several buildings. The pyramid, which once had a staircase on its western side, had a platform on its top with a presumably larger building, which may have consisted of two rows of three rooms each. A more precise statement on this is impossible, because so far no excavations have taken place and because at least the central and southern part of the building has not got beyond low walls and has never been completed.

Halfway up the pyramid on its northwest flank stands the actual "Old Woman's House", which belongs to the early Puuc style and is therefore one of the oldest surviving buildings. It seems that this building stands on its own smaller pyramid, which is older than the large one behind it. The building, the northern half of which collapsed, had two rooms in a row, which could be entered through an entrance to the west. The outer and inner doors were covered with wooden beams. Noteworthy is the still partially preserved roof ridge, which has numerous protruding pegs on the front side (to the west) for fixing stucco figures. Presumably, a second roof surface was constructed for the roof ridge, which is about 14 cm above the first one. It is not to be decided whether this was a technically related work step or whether the roof ridge was put on only later.


Building 14N2

Immediately to the north of the Old Woman's Pyramid, on the same low terrace, there is a largely destroyed building consisting of three rooms. On the quarry stone core attached to its rear side there is a second floor with a single room, to which a staircase leads from the west, spanning the facade of the ground floor. From the passage below the stairs along the facade, the entrance leads to the middle room. The wooden beam spanning the entrance is still preserved in place.


Phallus Temple (Templo de los Falos)

This building is located about 450 meters south of the Governor's Palace, the access leads over a forest path that starts at the "House of the Old Woman". The path crosses several heavily crumbled, small groups of buildings. The phallus temple, so named after the gargoyles executed in the phallus form in the upper cornice, is located on the southern edge of a large, stepped platform.

No consolidations have taken place so far. The building may have originally consisted of five rooms facing north, towards the center of Uxmal. Behind the middle room there is another room, a building plan that is characteristic of the Chenes region. Only a part of the back wall is preserved, including that of the additional room.

The facade of the rear wall has smooth wall surfaces, the middle and the upper cornice are kept identically, and have a smooth middle band, above and below, bands directed obliquely outward. The eponymous phallus is embedded in the upper band of the upper cornice, which was able to drain water from the roof surface through a gutter made on the upper side.


Inaccessible buildings

Chimez Temple (Chanchimez)
The temple, so named after a detail of its decoration, is located exactly 400 meters south-southwest of the governor's Palace, already outside the wall belt in dense forest. No excavation work or consolidations have taken place on the building so far. The building is located on the southern edge of a large platform, which probably had an elongated building on the north side with a passage in the middle, which was accessed from the center of Uxmal by a wide staircase.

It is a not quite symmetrical building with a total of 10 rooms, which is arranged around a solid block of stone material on three sides. The main page with 6 rooms is directed to the north, to the center of Uxmal, three rooms to the west and two to the east. One of the rooms of the front side has no entrance from the outside, but through the room located next to it on the side.

A staircase leads over the facade to the roof level, on which there is a building with a long column portico and three rooms behind it, which is largely destroyed. Under the stairs, an arched passage leading along the facade gives access to the middle room of the ground floor. The entrance door has a well-preserved door beam made of Chicozapote wood, which is still in operation.

The facade of the ground floor is partially preserved and can be completely reconstructed. The base consists of three elements, the high middle of which shows an uninterrupted braided ribbon motif. The stones of the upper band are also in relief. The lower wall surface shows large stepped meanders, between which vertical rows of squares standing on the top run. The central cornice has three bands, of which the lower one projects obliquely downwards and outwards, and the slightly recessed central one consists of alternately obliquely set toothed stones, which are called chimez (centipedes) because of their shape.

The upper band is smooth. The upper wall surface consists of columns that have the educational motif twice. The upper cornice consists of four elements: a band projecting obliquely downward and outward, which is formed here by two rows of stones, a recessed row of low columns, a repetition of the lower element, but consisting only of one row of stones, and the end stones projecting obliquely outward and upward.

Of the heavily destroyed upper floor, only the base cornice is known, the middle element of which is formed by low columns standing in groups of three. On the central wall of the building on the upper floor there was a ridge of the roof. The back of the complex was not used. The building is preceded by a large terrace to the north, which compensates for the slightly rising terrain to the south.

Northern Group (Grupo Norte)
The northern group is located 200 meters north-northwest of the Nuns' quadrangle on elevated terrain. It is easily recognizable from the main road passing by Uxmal. More than a dozen mostly heavily destroyed buildings are arranged around at least three courtyards. According to the construction method and floor plans, it is one of the oldest surviving parts of Uxmal. So far, no excavations and consolidations have been carried out in the Northern Group. The group is currently not officially open to visitors.


Stone inscriptions

Amazing for the size and obvious significance of Uxmal is the small number of preserved inscriptions containing a clearly expressed date. These were built exclusively under the rule of the only known ruler of Uxmal, Chaak, just like the majority of the grandiose buildings. In Uxmal, no data are preserved in the absolutely precise long count, the data are expressed either as a calendar round, or as the end of a period of the long count, but without denoting it completely and thus unambiguously.

The ability to read or write hieroglyphic inscriptions correctly, apparently, was already significantly limited in this region and at that time. This explains the execution of a series of pseudo-hieroglyphs in Uxmal in the bird's quadrangle (as well as in other places outside Uxmal), which (to the also mostly non-literate viewers in ancient times) should give the impression of an inscription, but are clearly not legible.

About half a dozen other steles, all of which are assembled on the stele platform (west of the Nuns' quadrangle), which is not open to the public, as well as a few other monuments, more or less clearly bear dates in the Ajaw style, which refer to the name of a K'atun (calendar cycle of about 20 years duration). They fall in the period from 810 to 928. The steles are eroded to such an extent that the mostly short non-calendar texts are no longer legible, the other monuments bear only the one sign that is interpreted as a calendar indication. Vaulted ceiling stones are not sculpted, but painted, whereby the painting on a thin stucco background is often exfoliated.