After the marketplace, we visit the Uxmal ruins, once a Mayan town. The ruins are beautiful, and I’m interested to hear more about the Mayans and their way of life, though I would be more interested in getting a sense of the Mexican culture. I’m eager to skip the touristy stuff and meet or learn about today’s people. Obviously not something that’s going to happen while visiting the ruins of a town built between 700-1000 A.D.!>
Uxmal isn’t only a single building, or even a small cluster. The town built by the Mayans so many centuries ago spread over 150 acres, and included a town center, where many buildings have ceremonial decorations and are arranged based on the astronomy learned and observed by those ancient people. Most of the buildings are still there today, open for people to tour and explore.
The entire place fell into disuse and ruin hundreds of years ago, sad for what was once a city with over 25,000 residents. At its height, Uxmal was a political center, but based on the wall around the town, archeologists believe Uxmal fought with other towns for control of the region. The entire city was abandoned sometime around 1000 A.D. Even though Mayans made pilgrimages there for several hundred years, Uxmal was otherwise ignored until the Spanish took over the area.
Since Uxmal is fairly distant from largely populated areas, despite being abandoned by the Mayans, most of the buildings and monuments stayed in relatively good shape. In the early 1900s, archeologists started making notes and reports about maintaining Uxmal, and around 1940, US archeologists started working to restore the entire town. Mexican archeologists joined the effort, and Uxmal’s museum opened in 1986. Ten years after that, because of the restoration efforts and the huge impact Uxmal had on the history of the area, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Because of the historical significance of Uxmal, the staff of the site make sure to care well for everything. They’re very strict about where visitors are allowed. The central pyramid, which the Spanish named the Pyramid of the Soothsayer, is an imposing structure of great beauty, and its height makes it appealing for those who want to be able to see miles of the surrounding area, or those who want a physical challenge. But climbing the pyramid is forbidden. While we were there, staff members kicked out a few visitors who were caught trying to climb the structure.
Click prev or next to continue Johnny Monsarrat Mexican Trip.