We are groupies when it comes to the Mayan Ruins. We visit them over and over and go to as many sites as we can. When we visit Uxmal and Chichen we stay in Merida and so enjoy that beautiful colonial city. The French influence is still very strong and you can find the most wonderful French restaurants tucked away.
The area around Uxmal was occupied as early as 800 BC, but the major building period took place when it was the capital of a Late Classic Mayan state around 850-925 AD.
After about 1000, when Toltec invaders took over the Yucatán peninsula (establishing their capital at Chichén Itza), all major construction ceased at Uxmal. But it continued to be occupied and participated in the political League of Mayapán.
Uxmal later came under the control of the Xiú princes. The site was abandoned around 1450, shortly before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors and was spared their gift of smallpox.
The main ruins of Uxmal cover about 150 acres, with residential districts spreading further beyond that. Uxmal occupies a grassy savannah surrounded by forest and its buildings were adapted to the varied elevations of the hilly landscape.
Unlike most Yucatan sites, Uxmal derived its not as much from cenotes (natural wells) as from man-made cisterns that collected rain water, one of which can be seen near the entrance. The constant concern with the supply of water probably explains the special popularity of the rain god Chac at Puuc sites.
The real function of many of the structures remains uncertain, and they retain the fanciful names given them by the Spanish. The most magnificant and largest is the great pyrimad, the Advino. Also know as the Pyramid of the Magician or the Pyramid of the Dwarf – me thinks that the dwarf was actually one of the Munchkins! Yucatec Maya folklore have embedded in their history “el anano del Uxmal” the dward of Uxmal. He evidently hatched from an egg and emerged fully grown and built the pyramid overnight………something a Munchkin would do.
This post is dedicated to the memory of my Mother : Annie Pauline Traugott Friesenhahn, who loved to explore the Mayan ruins and visit with the contemporary Mayan people…. probably because they are short like she was!