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Mayan Ruins, Archaeological Zones of Yucatan - ARPR MEXICO

If you visit the city of Merida you have to visit these archaeological sites of Yucatan, located within walking distance of the city of Merida, the history of the roots of Yucatan and Mexico part of these interesting ruins located in the southeast of the country, Yucatan has a historical legacy like few territories in the world. There is also conjecture that connects Yucatan with the disappearance of the dinosaurs. Alvarez's hypothesis suggests that the asteroid that caused the end of these animals crashed in the area of the peninsula. There is geological evidence to support that theory, the chicxulub puerto crater including a formation in the territory and surrounding waters, called the Cenotes Ring, This ring, according to Alvarez's hypothesis, represents the outline of the waves from the asteroid impact. Satellite images show what resembles a crater that spans the peninsula and enters the sea. It is possible that this area suffered directly from the cataclysm that caused one of the worst mass extinctions in Earth's history.



Chichén Itzá

The legendary Maya city of Chichén Itzá, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988 and a Wonder of the World since 2007, stood out as the cultural and political center of the ancient Maya civilization and was one of the largest settlements in the north-central Yucatán peninsula. In its time of greatest splendor, it was the most powerful city in the Yucatan peninsula.

The Itzáes settled in Chichén Itzá in the 9th century A.D. It is believed that they were Putún or Chontal Maya. They forged a vast domain with a unified culture whose center was Chichén ltzá. Towards the end of the 10th century, the city was invaded by a predominantly warrior tribe: the Toltecs. This last invasion brought with it a new series of cultural elements, with the representation of the serpent-god Kukulkán standing out. Around 1250 A.D., the city was abandoned for reasons not fully determined. So great was the power of this city that centuries after its decadence it was still a site of pilgrimage and worship, and even in 1540 A.D. Francisco de Montejo, founder of Mérida, thought of building the capital there.

In Old Chichén, the area near the Sacred Cenote, there are buildings of typical Maya architecture, without any mixture of foreign influences, such as the temples of the Four Lintels, the Three Lintels and the Lintel.

Las Monjas is a series of overlapping structures that belong to the area usually designated as Chichén Nueva, but its characters date back to the ancient stage of flourishing of the city.

Visualized from the Caracol the modern city, they stand out in the panorama the great pyramid of the Castle, the groups in quadrangle of the Patio of the Thousand Columns, the arrogant Temple of the Warriors (that encloses in its interior the Temple of Chac Mool), the group of structures of the great Game of Ball, and other smaller constructions like the Temple of the Tables, the called Ossuary or Tomb of the High Priest, the Mausoleum and the Temple of the Eagles.

The Caracol complex consists, in essence, of three parts: the Tower itself, a circular building, and two platforms or terraces in rectangles, superimposed, the lower one larger in size, and from which rises the round structure, with an internal spiral staircase, circumstance to which it owes its name.

The Castillo de Kukulkan "The Feathered Serpent", measures 60 meters per side, at the base. It rises in nine decreasing bodies until the height of 24, thus reaching the plateau that supports the temple, and this one raises its walls eight meters more. Each facade or front of the mass in pyramid, boasts a wide stairway formed by 91 stone steps, set that composes 364 steps, and added the land, or the upper platform, 365. The stairs of the castle are topped at ground level by colossal sculptural serpentine heads.

In 1930, thanks to the Mexican archaeological works made to the Castle, it was verified the existence of an internal pyramidal building, provided with stairs only by the northern face. Like the exterior, it is composed of a pyramid base and a sanctuary on top. Like the external pyramid, the interior consists of nine decreasing bodies, and keeps an impressive statue of Chac Mool. His eyes, teeth and nails are made of bone, skillfully applied to the stone. It kept the splendid sculpture of a monolithic tiger, painted in a dazzling red color. Its jaws are open, and its eyes are a pair of round jade plates.

The group of structures of the great Ball Court, oriented from north to south, and located to the north of the Castle, is composed of five main structures: the Ball Court itself, the Temple of the Bearded Man, the Southern Tribune, the Temple of the Tigers and the Eastern Annex of this building.

The solar equinox, an archaeo-astronomical phenomenon, is the moment when the earth is illuminated by the sun equally in the northern and southern hemispheres. At dusk on March 21 and September 22, the days of the beginning of the spring and autumn equinoxes respectively, a solar projection is observed on the north staircase of the Pyramid of Kukulkan, consisting of seven triangles of light, inverted, as a result of the shadow cast by the nine platforms of the building, at sunset, which creates the appearance of a snake that gradually descends down one of the stairs to the head, located at the bottom of the pyramid, to complete the emblematic feathered serpent. The process from its beginning to its culmination lasts approximately 45 minutes.

Another of the phenomena observed in the Mayan pyramid is the lunar equinox that happens during the dawn of the full moon, in which the visual game of the shadow triangles is repeated in the stairway of the pyramid El Castillo, which simulates the descent of the feathered serpent.

During the dawn of June 20, 21 and 22, the summer solstice takes place, this spectacular phenomenon causes the light to illuminate only the north and east faces of the pyramid, while the south and west faces remain in shadow. In winter the opposite happens, that is to say, the illuminated part is darkened and the dark part is illuminated, besides that it does not happen at dawn, but at dusk from December 20 to 22.

The light and sound show, "The Night of the Mayas", is a narration of a part of the history of the Mayas.


Chichén Itzá is located in eastern Yucatán, on the road to Cancún, 120 km. from Mérida.



The archaeological site of Uxmal, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, emerges spectacularly in the south of Yucatán. It is one of the archaeological zones of the Mayan culture whose architecture is one of the most majestic in Yucatan. Its beauty is characterized by low, horizontal palaces, placed around patios or quadrangles, which are richly decorated with very detailed sculptures elaborated with thousands of small stones perfectly polished and adjusted forming geometric mosaics of an unequaled perfection in the entire Mayan area.

The city of Uxmal is said to have been founded by the Xiues tribe. The occupation of the site dates back to the Upper Preclassic period B.C.; however, the greatest volume of construction work was done during the Late Classic period (600- 1000 A.D.). It had a population of approximately 20,000 inhabitants.

Political and economic control was governed by a select group of individuals since society recognized them as intermediaries between men and divinities. Thus, through religion, the ruling class monopolized the main activities in its various manifestations of the population settled in Uxmal. Little by little, Uxmal became one of the main regional capitals of the northern Maya, until it achieved the establishment of a political power that allowed the control of other minor sites and made it possible for Uxmal to establish itself as the regional capital of the Puuc.

The highly fertile soils for agricultural activity must have provided sustenance to these ancient settlers. The cults to water, earth, the sun and Venus are also present in the orientation and decoration of their structures. In the central nucleus of Uxmal, more than 160 chultunes or cisterns have been found to collect water from the rains, since in this area there were no cenotes, and there was no other source of supply of the indispensable liquid.

The city is made up of 15 groups of buildings, distributed from north to south, in an extension of approximately 2 km. Among those that stand out: The Pyramid of the Soothsayer, with its Plaza of the Birds, the Quadrangle of the Nuns, the Ball Game, the Palace of the Governor, the Great Pyramid and El Palomar, in addition to the North Group, the House of the Old Woman, The Cemetery and the Temple of the Phalluses. The great quantity and variety of buildings speak of the social complexity in this center of political, economic and religious activities.

The most impressive structure, with a singular elliptical shape and a height of more than 35 meters, is the Casa del Adivino; according to an ancient legend, this pyramid was erected by a dwarf in just one night, although in reality it was erected in five stages and was designed in such a way that its stairway faces east, toward the sunset on the summer solstice.

The Convent, another of its great buildings, was so named by the Spaniards who, upon seeing it, were reminded of a European convent. It was probably used as a school for healers, astrologers and priests.

The Governor's Palace is an excellent example of stone mosaic work and was most likely made by hundreds of masons and sculptors. It has very beautiful sculptures of the rain god Chaac, serpents and astrological symbols. The upper facade, in all its extension, is of 100 mts. Its interior consists of 20 rooms, being twenty the sacred unit of the vigesimal system of the Mayas. It is considered the most beautiful building in Mesoamerica for its style and imposing proportions.

Another important building is the House of the Turtles, an architectural gem whose decoration is limited to the columns of the upper façade and a band of realistic turtles well spaced on the high cornice.

The Quadrangle of the Nuns consists of a central courtyard with four elongated buildings arranged around it. It stands out for its magnificent decoration, where grecas, lattices, human figures, snakes, heads of turtles, owls and masks of the god Chaac alternate.

From the Quadrangle of the Nuns you can see the spectacle of light and sound of Uxmal in which Mayan legends of the region that gave life to this mystical place are narrated.

Uxmal was abandoned around 1080 A.D., shortly after the end of the Classic period in the south. It is believed that its decadence was probably due to a social revolt that destroyed the ruling elite.


Uxmal is located to the southwest, in the direction of Campeche, 80 km. from Mérida.

Ruinas de Ake, Yucatán


Pre-Hispanic city that played an important political and strategic role during the Classic period, between 250 and 900 A.D., since it is located precisely between Izamal and the ancient city of Thó (present-day city of Mérida), surviving until 1450 A.D.

It covered about four km2. Among the architectural complexes still preserved, El Palacio stands out. In the central part is an esplanade, known as the Great Plaza. Around this area you can see the main buildings where the ruling class lived.

Its sacbé (pre-Hispanic white road) of 32 km. long, by means of which it was united with Izamal, stands out. It has a wall that surrounds the city and covers part of the sacbé, which suggests the existence of conflicts between these two great cities, once allies.

It has a great variety of attractions such as the henequen hacienda San Lorenzo Aké, which has flourished for years thanks to the care of its owners, old shredding machines where the "green gold" (henequen or sisal) is still worked, the ancient sacbés (Mayan roads) and a cavern-like cenote.


Aké is located 32 km. from the city of Mérida, on highway 80 to Tixkokob; turn right at km. 25.

Chacmultún Yucatán


The ancient city is made up of four monumental architectural groups called Chacmultún, Cabalpak, Xethpol and Central; together they cover approximately 1 km2. The first three groups, where the visitable structures of the area are located, were built on huitz or hills; the terrain was leveled so that each group was surrounded by artificial terraces that enhance its monumentality. Surrounding the heart of the settlement are numerous platforms and mounds on which dwellings of various hierarchies were built.


Chacmultún is located 130 kilometers southeast of the city of Mérida. To get there, take federal highway 180, and when you get to Tekax, drive to the communities of Canek, Kancab and Chacmultún.

Dzibilchaltún Yucatán


Dzibilchaltún means in Mayan language "Place where there is writing on the stones", in allusion to the numerous commemorative tombstones found at the site, also called stelae. According to experts, there were settlements since 500 BC, possibly earlier, and it lasted until the Spanish conquest around 1540 AD.

The settlement covered about 19 km2 being of concentric type, in which about 8,400 structures have been found. The central part is composed of numerous monumental constructions covering about 25 hectares. In the rest of the area there are scattered architectural complexes with pyramids and vaulted buildings. It is believed that it could have reached a population of up to 40,000 inhabitants, making it one of the largest ancient cities in Mesoamerica.

Because of its proximity to the coast, its economy took advantage of both the marine products from the Gulf coast, producing salt, making snail tools and consuming food from the sea, as well as those from inland, planting and harvesting corn.

Apart from the stelae, where number 19 stands out, which is considered a masterpiece of Mayan sculptural art, the "true masonry" stands out, that is, stones joined with mortar and wedges, as well as the vaults built with the system of salt stones.

The archaeo-astronomical phenomenon of the equinox occurs in Dzibilchaltún, on March 21 and September 21, at dawn, when the door of the Temple of the Seven Dolls is illuminated by the brightness of the sun that appears on the horizon and, at a given moment, the celestial disk is at the center of the door and creates a spectacle of light and shadow on the western façade.

These days, one can observe the incredible precision of Mayan astronomy integrated into their architecture. The Maya used the sun as the basis for planning their lives because of their dependence on agriculture. With the spring equinox they initiated the sowing and with the autumn equinox the harvest.

Dzibilchaltún brings together in one place a pre-Hispanic city, an eco-archaeological park and the Museum of the Mayan People, which houses Mayan and Spanish vestiges, from clay objects to paintings, armor and Spanish weapons, several Mayan stelae, stones and carved lintels in excellent condition. It also has a 16th century Franciscan chapel in the middle of the Mayan city.


It is located at km. 14 of the Merida-Progreso highway.



City known as the second largest religious center of the Puuc style. Its period of greatest apogee was around 800 A.D. Its peak coincided with that of Uxmal during the IX and X centuries, and like the latter, it was abandoned in the XI century.

In this ancient settlement there is a system of internal sacbes that are distributed on an axis oriented in a north-south direction and that serves as a reference to locate the main architectural complexes. Among the main constructions of the site are: The Palace, located on a high esplanade that forms a quadrangle; The Great Pyramid and an arch that marks the main access to the site through the sacbé of Uxmal; the building known as Manos Rojas and one of the most important Mayan structures of all periods and sites called Codz Pop.

The Codz Pop is the most important structure with the highest degree of restoration. The word pop has several meanings, among them mat, and codz refers to the curled form of the nose of the god Chaac, represented in 250 masks carved in stone throughout the length and width of the western facade of this building, although it should be added that pop has a connotation related to high hierarchy or divinity and is the name of the first month of the Mayan calendar. The building is on the west side of a great platform, proceeded by a plaza; in this there is a second form where hieroglyphic inscriptions were discovered interpreted as glyphs and emblem of Uxmal and Kabáh, besides the name of Chaac attributed to a lord of Uxmal.

The corridor facing the plaza has five rooms, each with two rooms interconnected by a staircase in the shape of a Chaac mask. On the other hand, the opposite corridor, in the east wing, has ten chambers. On the frieze, very deteriorated, they are conserved almost complete two of seven sculptures of Mayan dignitaries with headdresses that finish off in masks of Chaac and as bottom, a plume of feathers. Characters like these also appear in the central room, on sculpted jambs in which scenes of capture of prisoners are distinguished; there are also warriors carrying knives and darts. The dignitaries represented have the particularity of wearing a blindfold or monocular mask that partially covers their cheekbone and mouth.

A Mayan arch in apparent isolation stands to the west on a small platform. The arch marks, on one side, the beginning of the sacbé of 18 km. that leads to Uxmal, and on the other, the beginning of an internal sacbé.

The name Kabáh comes from the Yucatec Maya kab, mano and ah, which refers to the pronoun él. He translated it as "The lord of the strong and powerful hand".

At the end of the 19th century, the explorer Teobert Maler called him Kabahau-can: kab, hand; ah, ahau, lord, and can, serpent, that is, "The lord who holds the serpent or the one who has the real serpent in his hand".


Kabáh is located 23 km. southeast of Uxmal on Highway 261; turn right at km. 16, and 140 km. south of Mérida.

Ek Balam

Ek Balam

Ek Balam, with its majestic constructions hidden among large trees, is a site unlike any other in the Maya area and is unlike any other known archaeological site.

Its history begins approximately from the year 300 B.C., until the arrival of the Spaniards. It was the capital of the Tah empire, to which the people of the eastern part of the state paid tribute, including part of the coast, as evidenced by shell offerings that have been found. It covered about 12 km2, which included a sacred central space of a little more than 1 km2 where the elite resided, protected and delimited by 3 walls. These had 5 entrances, where an equal number of pre-Hispanic roads or sacbes (sak bé oob) led to.

It was a very rich capital, with a population of 12 to 18 thousand inhabitants in its main nucleus. It is said to have been founded by a lord named Ek' Balam or Coch Cal Balam, who came from the east and ruled for the first 40 years.

It has 45 structures and is surrounded by two concentric stone walls, and another one that joins the central buildings. These walls were for defensive purposes and to control access. It has a ball game and a very beautiful arch where a sacbé (sacred road), which in ancient times connected the Mayan kingdoms, led to; there are also stelae and the so-called hieroglyphic serpents, monuments beautifully carved in stone blocks. The structures have various architectural styles, but there are details that make them unique, such as images with wings that resemble angels.

Numerous masks, friezes and stone statues have been found with allusions to the jaguar and great characters of the city, mainly effigies of its rulers, which shows that it was a city that was outside the cult of Kukulkan.

The main site has been called the Acropolis which is a highly fortified elevation, and with its 160 meters long by almost 70 meters wide and 31 meters high, it is catalogued among the largest buildings in Yucatan. It has numerous superimposed construction stages, in which there are a large number of vaulted rooms, on different levels and connected by passageways. Under the thatched roofs that protect the façade, we can appreciate the intricate detail of the art and symbolism, embodied in sculptures that adorn this temple are an artistic marvel.

The finding of a tomb with a rich offering inside, of the great ruler Ukit Kan Lek Tok, makes this structure the most important of the site. In this place was found the only emblem glyph existing to date in the north of the State, in which the name of this ruler is mentioned. Among his offerings were found seashells, pectoral shells, mother-of-pearl shells, jade objects, beads, some representations of faces, fragments of ear flares and necklaces. Also found were representations of fish and shrimp in shells, more than 25 vessels and a deer femur with inscriptions, which was presumably used as a center.


Ek Balam is located 26 km. north of Valladolid and 186 km. east of Merida, on the highway to Cancun. An additional attraction is the X-Canché Cenote, located 1.5 km. from this archaeological zone. It has infrastructure for rappelling and zip-lining, bicycle rental service, kayaks, cabins, dining room and rest areas.

Labná, Yucatán


Small but important Maya city, which reached its splendor between 600 and 900 A.D. Its name comes from lab, old thing, and nah casa: "old house". In this site the architecture of the flourishing Puuc style predominates (XI and X centuries) but there are some samples of the early Puuc of the VIII century.

It is famous for having a beautiful Mayan construction carved in stone: El Arco, of remarkable perfection and fine ornamentation. It must have been the entrance to an enclosure dedicated to great celebrations. Its façade includes representations of palm houses and stylized snakes.

As other settlements of the region, Labná has an internal sacbé that follows an axis north south and that communicates its main sets: El Palacio and El Mirador.

The Palace is located at the north end of the internal sacbe. This building had several constructive stages until it accumulated 57 rooms in two levels. In the west wing there is a rectangular molding that borders the openings, an example of the early Puuc; the rest corresponds to the flourishing Puuc, notorious in the carving of the frieze with columns with ties, Chaac masks, stepped fretwork and latticework. On the frontal section of the first level a zoomorphic mask stands out from whose jaws a human head emerges: to the north, another one, flanked by human figures, shows a Mayan date that corresponds to the year 862.

The Arco de Labná is a vaulted passageway that serves as access to a small quadrangle located to the west: El Mirador. The façade shows geometric figures made with the stone mosaic technique of the flourishing Puuc style. The middle molding has three segments: the interior, beveled; the central one with zigzag lace stones and the one at the top with a smooth band. The frieze is decorated with a double stepped fretwork and small columns in the background. In the internal facade the superior molding shows huts in whose openings there are representations of Mayan dignitaries with headdresses. The corners are finished with masks of Chaac. The roof presents, in its middle part a small openwork cresting.


Labná is located 120 km. south of Mérida, and 42 km. southeast of Uxmal on highway 261; turn left at km. 30 on state highway 31.



The walled city of Mayapán, known as the "Flag of the Maya", is considered the last great Maya capital. It has an extension of 4 km2, in which there are approximately 4,000 structures.

Its beginnings date back to the beginning of our era, reaching its maximum splendor in the Postclassic Period (1200 - 1450 A.D.). It is believed that this city had a population of 12,000 inhabitants. It was founded by the Cocom group, whom experts associate with the bearers of the so-called Maya-Toltec culture. It was the seat of "La Liga de Mayapán", a confederation that brought together the chiefs of Uxmal and Chichén Itzá. The disputes for control ended with the defeat of the Itzaes, who ruled the region, and they fled to the Peten, where they founded the city of Tayasal. The hegemony of the League was exercised from that moment on (end of the XIII century) by the cocomes of Mayapán, although with strong opposition from the inhabitants of the other Mayan kingdoms of the Peninsula. This alliance seems to have been dissolved around 1440, when the cocomes abandoned the plaza and settled in Sotuta.

Worthy of admiration is the work of its expert sculptors that is distinguished in its great quantity of pieces of modeled stucco in which the high quality of its works is reflected. It is worth highlighting the mural paintings in which war scenes and events related to the cult of death are captured, which makes evident its cultural links with the Altiplano of Central Mexico.

The city of Mayapán was built like Chichén Itzá. Its main buildings are a copy of the capital of the Itzaes. The constructive style incorporated elements of the architecture of Central Mexico, combined with features inherited from the ancient Maya cities. However, with the fall of Chichén, Mayapán developed its own style oriented towards the reelaboration of ancient forms. Its main building is called El Castillo, being a pyramidal base of 9 bodies with a height of 15 meters, where an interesting phenomenon of light and shadow takes place during the winter solstice (December 21), identical to that of Chichén Itzá.

You can also observe civic, administrative and religious buildings, as well as the residences of the ruling class. These are buildings built on foundations that have corridors with columns, temples and oratories with an altar at the back and sidewalks on the sides. Also representative are the round buildings known as observatories and small sanctuaries.


It is located in the south of the State of Yucatan, at km. 45 of the Merida-Acanceh highway, in the same direction as the so-called Route of the Convents.



Its name comes from the Yucatec Maya: ox, three; kin, sun or day and tok, flint. Archaeological evidence suggests a period of occupation from the first century in the late Preclassic, until the sixteenth century, with a boom period during the Classic, between the fourth and ninth centuries.

The main architectural complexes, called Ah Dzib, Ah May and Ah Canul, were the seats of power and resistance of the most important lineages of Oxkintok. United by sacbes, or roads, they form the central nucleus of the settlement; around them there are other smaller groups.

The Ah Dzib group is almost quadrangular in plan, with four plazas on three different levels, each with its access stairway oriented from north to south; one of them has hieroglyphs. In a corner of the northwest plaza is a small Ball Court and at one side of it, a circular base identified as a steam bath. To the south of the southeast plaza, the Palace of Chaac and to the south of the southwest plaza it closes a pyramidal basement.

The Satunsat is located in the western sector of the central core. Its rectangular plan is distributed like a labyrinth. These examples are rare in Maya cities. Besides the Satunsat, only two others are known, in Yaxchilán and in Toniná, Chiapas, cities of the Classic period. The construction shows differences in height, as a result of adaptations to the unevenness of the terrain. It has three superimposed levels; for two of them there is only one entrance on the west and the third one is reached by a stairway located on the east side.

In the interior a series of vaulted passages is discovered, in some cases with steps, that intercommunicate 17 chambers of the first two levels. The walls open into openings that function as skylights, ventilators or perhaps for astronomical observation. It is a building that evokes the Mayan cosmovision: the cave-pyramid complex, partly on one level and partly subway, attributed to the Universe and its three spaces: the Underworld, the Earth and the Sky.

The Ah May group is a complex that rests on a large platform, with an access stairway on the south side. On that one a pyramidal staggered construction rises, vaulted structures, residential platforms and altars, which are distributed in four squares.

The South Plaza has a building of three bodies with rounded corners and an access stairway on the north; several remodeling and substructures are presumed.

In the Southwest Plaza there are about a dozen residential units, most of them laterally deployed, in the interior of the esplanade there are three of them and an altar.

The Ah Canul is communicated with the other central temples of Oxkintok by means of three sacbes. It is composed of 25 constructions distributed in five main squares, among which stand out the structure CA-6 or Palace of the Initial Series, the CA-5 or Palace of the Lunar Series, the so-called Palace of the Devil Ch'ich or the Pop Palace.


It is located in the westernmost region of the Puuc, 70 km. south of Merida, in the state of Yucatan. Its access is by federal highway No. 180, which goes to Campeche.



Splendid natural showcase that combines peaceful beaches and an archaeological zone. It was strongly influenced by the Mayan cities of Izamal and Tho' (today Merida). A salt center since the Late Preclassic period (100 B.C. - 250 A.D.), it has been booming since the Early Classic period (250-600 A.D.); today it is still producing this mineral.

It has gone through several stages in its architecture, however the most characteristic feature comes from the Early Classic and is within the Petén and Megalithic or Izamaleño style, characterized by pyramids of stepped bodies, use of rounded corners, facades with huge masks modeled in stucco and painted, as well as the use of large stone blocks in walls and staircases, among others.

It was very important for the commercial and salt development of the pre-Hispanic era. Considered a place of pilgrimage and worship to the Virgin, she is still venerated today in the chapel built on one of its main Mayan foundations. At the site you can admire the Temple of the Cross, a large stepped base with a cross on top and the Temple of the Sacrifices. The natural setting is mangroves and palms that give it a tropical and coastal air of great attraction. A large number of burials with offerings rich in foreign ceramics (polychromes from Guatemala, female figurines from Jaina and Veracruz), make Xcambó a perfect sanctuary.


It is located 6 km from Telchac Puerto, 2 km from the coast, almost on the Progreso-Telchac highway, and 40 km northeast of the city of Merida.



Urban center of great extension, developed between 600 and 900 AD. The distribution of the city is made up of three zones: The first is the core of the site as it includes the buildings of the elite; the second includes residences once inhabited by the ancestors; and the last zone extends to the satellite settlements of populations that paid tribute to Sayil.

In the facade of its buildings the stone mosaic decoration stands out. The Palace, the most notable construction of the zone, whose second level is decorated with mosaics of the figure of the descending God, can be contemplated, in addition in its approximately 70 rooms it shows the appearance of new architectural techniques.


Sayil is located 33 km. southeast of Uxmal on highway 261; turn right at km. 34, and 112 km. south of Mérida.

Yaxunah, Yucatán


It is a peculiar archaeological zone of monumental constructions, surrounded by milpas and dense vegetation. It was communicated with Chichén Itzá and Cobá through sacbes, so it is thought to have been a political frontier. It reached its maximum splendor between 900 and 600 BC.

The traces found in the area reveal that the city had an intense agriculture and must have been a support for the large population of the northern peninsular, although it was later abandoned and destroyed long before the arrival of the Spaniards, around the tenth or eleventh century.

The recent archaeological explorations begin to show two important moments of the occupation of the site: in some substructures have been located graves of its oldest settlers, previous to the V century A.D. and contemporary to those of Oxkintok. In the Early Classic or the Late Preclassic, monolithic blocks were used for the constructions, but it is in the Terminal Classic, when Yaxunah seems to have its maximum flourishing.

A place denied to the Itzáes who had to stay in Chichén Itzá; its sculpture gives meaning to the architectural spaces and links this city with the Puuc sites, mainly with Kabáh: the designs carved in the stones of the socle on which La Casa de la Reina rises remind us of the same element of the Codz Pop of Kabáh, as well as the use in the walls of the typical reeds with ties of the Puuc.

The landscape that can be seen from the top of the hill known as La Casa Verde (The Green House) takes the visitor on a long journey. In addition to the buildings of the enormous Acropolis, other structures, such as the Ball Court, and large architectural complexes are being studied by archaeologists to offer new information on the long history of Yaxunah.

The Lol-Ha cenote is also located, with a stone stairway that allows access to its mouth.


Yaxunah is 25 km from Chichén Itzá and 103 km from Cobá.

Xlapak Yucatán


In Xlapak is one of the greatest jewels of the Puuc architectural style, called El Palacio, with a magnificent facade where you can see a stone mosaic panel with fretwork and other geometric elements. In its corners and in the center there are spectacular Chaac masks. In this type of decoration the building is an impressive case, since the masks protrude from the ceiling of the false arch.


Xlapak is located 38 km. southeast of Uxmal on highway 261 and the junction to the left with state highway 31, and 113 km. south of Merida.


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