Uxmal: A Window Into The Maya

To the delight of modern tourists, Maya kings sought to outdo each other with more and more impressive temples, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Uxmal (pronounced oosh-mal) is an outstanding example.

These mysterious ruins contain an exceptional collection of buildings with a variety of architectural types. And thanks to their good state of preservation, our visit there answered one of our biggie questions:

What did a Maya capital actually look like in ancient times?

With its carefully-restored Pyramid of the Magician, Nunnery Quadrangle, Governor’s Palace, Great Pyramid, and Ball Court, the city’s design, layout, and ornamentation make it a one-stop introduction to Maya art and architecture. Truthfully, if you can see only one site, this is the one to see.

At its peak, Uxmal was one of the largest cities in the Yucatán. It flourished around 850-920 CE, which was also when most of its main temples and buildings were constructed, and the richly detailed ceremonial structures scattered around the ancient city draw tourists like a magnet.

But when it comes to the mysterious collapse of the culture, scholars suggest that the rulers’ obsession with building was on the laundry list of factors that led to the fall. Given the resources needed for construction, and the constant threats of drought, overpopulation, starvation, and warfare, we have to wonder what the kings were thinking.

In his book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, author Jared Diamond cuts them zero slack:

“Their attention was evidently focused on their short-term concerns of enriching themselves, waging wars, erecting monuments, competing with each other, and extracting enough food from the peasants to support all those activities.“

But despite these grim lessons from history, Uxmal is a marvelous, must-see city for every traveler to the area. It’s the most complete Maya cityscape that we saw, and it gave us a better understanding of all the other ruins we visited.

If this overview piqued your interest, walk around the ancient city with us in our next post.

Happy Trails,
James & Terri

Author: gallivance.net

We're Terri and James Vance - high school sweethearts who went on to international careers and became world nomads. Today, 65 countries later, we're still traveling ... and still in love. Check out Our Story for more of the backstory at gallivance.net.

174 thoughts

  1. What an incredible structures !!!

    It’s hard to believe that they were constructed some 3000 years back and still stands tall… hat’s off to the incredible engineering of the age old civilization.

    Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful post 🙂

    Have a beautiful day, James & Terri 🙂

    1. Thanks very much. Long before Europeans knew of or even dreamed of coming to the Americas, the Maya had complex cultures and large sophisitcated cities. And you’re right, at the heart of all these beautiful buildings was homegrown engineering skills. ~James

    1. I think most of these buildings were meant to simulate mountains and caves to better enable the Maya to communicate with their gods. What an intimidating wonder they must have been for the peasants that were around them each day. ~James

  2. Fascinating structures…I hope that I will be able to visit Uxmal during my time in Mexico in July. I am thinking of basing myself in Playa del Carmen, would you think a day trip there is doable? Or would you suggest a different base to stay?

    1. Gilda, we based ourselves in Merida, which made it easy to visit Uxmal and Chichen Itza. Because of the number of beach visitors there are lots of day tours from the coast to CI, but you probably won’t find tours to Uxmal from Playa del Carmen because of the distance and the time it takes to get there and back. Merida is actually a pretty neat destination itself, and it’s a transport hub, so it makes it easier than moving around from the coast. But, we visited both CI and Uxmal, and if you have a serious interest in Maya culture and architecture, I can say don’t miss Uxmal. You won’t be sorry. ~James

  3. The photos of ancient Mayan structures that most beguile me are the ones that show the temples and other ruins rising out of the snarly green jungle. Your next-to-last one is a great example of that – it sets my imagination on fire!

    1. I like these types of shots as well Lexie. The layout of the city is perfect for panorama photos, and a number of Uxmal’s buildings are on natural or manmade hills, so you can climb (puff-puff) a few of the tall ones. This gets you in a great vista-photo position. Also, the photo you mentioned is one of my favorities, not only because of the perspective, but because I had to climb the great pyramid to get it. 🙂 ~James

  4. Your phrase, “if you see only one site, this is the one to see” gets a two-thumbs up as we both felt Uxmal was at or near the top of Mexico’s Mayan wonders. Adding to our experience was a visitor who played his flute under one of the arches and the haunting notes that followed us as we walked around. The sheer size of Chichen Itza and its iconic pyramid gets the most press but, Uxmal’s ruins, impressive architecture and art-in-stone were magnificent. It’s hard to compare the Mayan ruins (apples vs. oranges) but the closest ruin to Uxmal that wowed us with sheer delight as we followed the Mayan Ruta was Copan in western Honduras. P.S. We love Jared Diamond’s books and your closing quote has some thought-provoking parallels to our current civilization. Anita

    1. Anita, we hired a car and driver so we could get to Uxmal just after opening time, and it was marvelously deserted. But I will say, that even at its busiest, because the city is so big, the crowds weren’t bad. And I agree about your assessement of Chichen Itza. Of the two, far and away, Uxmal was our favorite. Of course, Palenque was also on our favorite list but for different reasons. The detailed mosaics at Uxmal were wonderful and being able to wander without lots of other people made the experience so pleasant and totally different from CI. Don’t get me wrong, we’re glad that we went to CI, but I would be sad to have missed Uxmal. And also, I’m a big Jared Diamond fan as well. I assume you’ve read his “Guns, Germs, and Steel” – huge fav of mine. ~James

  5. James – I like your blend of relishing the experience but knowing some historical background. Too often, I’ll let the facts go and just relish the experience, but with something that has history you can’t necessarily see, I’d be missing out on a lot. Thanks for the visit – Susan

    1. Susan, my trips to ruins are usually three-phased. I do a bit of reading before visiting to have a better appreciation for what I will see on the visit. Then after the visit, I read to answer all the questions that I come up with while there. Thank goodness for wifi and ebooks. There’s nothing like instant gratification when it comes to answering questions and finding out more about antiquities and ancient sites – particularly while the memories are fresh in my mind. ~James

  6. Fascinating photos and history, and I look forward to the next installment! We have yet to visit Yucatán, but your descriptions encourage a visit sooner rather than later! I don’t know if you have been to Oaxaca, but if not, I hope you can come sometime and experience the history and ruins of the Zapotecs.
    Jared Diamond’s quote could be easily applied to today…

    1. Marilyn, we have been to Oaxaca and really enjoyed it. In addition to the great colonial architecture, we were introduced to mole sauce there – yummy. It’s a charming town that every visitor to Mexico should see. I don’t know much about the Zapotecs, but I find it interesting that so many independent cultures existed in Mexico at such early dates. ~James

    1. Thanks very much for the link to our post on Uxmal. It’s a special place and we’re glad that your link will help more people hear about these wonderful ruins. ~James

  7. Your post has made me curious to visit Uxmal. The only ruin we visited in Mexico was Tulum which we enjoyed but this place looks amazing.I look forward to the next post.

    1. Thanks Darlene. We didn’t make it to Tulum, but it’s nice that no matter where you travel in the Yucatan, you’re never too far from a Maya ruin of some sort. ~James

  8. You confirmed what I have been thinking, that Uxmal is that one place I should not miss if I only have a very short time visiting Mexico. Since I became really interested in Maya civilization and the architectural wonders they built, Uxmal has caught my attention the most. The pyramid, the intricate details, the layout, the entire complex looks so grand.

    1. Bama, from my experience, Uxmal would be a good option for a quick trip. I’ve visited 4 ruins and of these, it’s the biggest, best preserved, with the most detailed carving/mosaics. Palenque in Chiapas is also very cool as well, and its jungle location is wonderful. But the advantage of Uxmal is being close to Merida, which is a regional airport. If you fly into Mexico City make sure to visit the National Archaeology Museum. And BTW, our next post will have lots more details about Uxmal. ~James

  9. Just wow! It is so hard to fathom the work to build back then. I imagine the pheasants felt resentment, as well as awe. As someone else commented, love the ruins in the jungle and kudos to you for having the ump to climb for the picture!

    PS. When did BC and AD go out of “style”? I hadn’t heard of CE until recently.

    1. Laura, thanks for noticing the elevated shots. As you an imagine, they all required extra legwork; pun intended. The jungle shots are at the Palenque ruins in Chiapas, which we will also post on. Palenque is smaller than Uxmal, but the jungle location and the ambience of the place was absolutely wonderful. As for BC, etc. I don’t know the whole story, but I suspect that lots of non-Christians got a little tired of referencing everything that happened in the world to the birth of Jesus. ~James

  10. We totally agree with your comment “if you see only one site, this is the one to see”. It was at the top of our list after finishing our ruins tour. Great photos!

    1. Thanks LuAnn. As I said to someone else, for size, range of buildings, preservation, and quality of ornamentation, Uxmal was the best of anywhere we’ve been. But smaller, less ornate Palenque with its mountainside, jungle-wrapped location was also on the top of our list. Hope all is well for you and Terry. ~James

      1. We did a 10-day ruins tour, which was one of the highlights of our year traveling in Mexico. We are doing well, having just returned from a two month trip to Patagonia yesterday.

  11. Fantastic, James! Uxmal appears to be a temple complex that should be first on the list, in order to understand and appreciate the other ones in Mexico, Belize and Guatemala. I think by the time Mark and I visited this amazing Yucatan site, we were “templed” and “ruined” out, hence my first remark. Wish it was our first. But, we can always go back one time, with a fresh and refreshed mind. 🙂 Your photos are stunning!

    1. Liesbet, I think that being “templed” or “cathedraled” out is something that all frequent travelers have to learn to deal with. We learned the hard way that it’s all about quality over quantity. Our years of having a travel punchlist is way behind us. Of course we plan, and there are always sights that we absolutely want to see, but generally, our philosophy is that we see what we see, and it’s more important to appreciate what we do see rather than ticking off another sight. But, in our case, it took us quite a while to get to that point. As you say, there’s always next time. ~James

      1. Perfect answer, James. And, it is certainly something we have figured out over time as well. Our priorities are different than during our Mexico/Central American RV “tour” 13 years ago, when I was more into “seeing as much as possible”, not to check things off the list, but to experience as much as possible. A slower pace of life (and travel) is more beneficial, and I now prefer quality over quantity as well! 🙂

    1. Thanks for the comment Emilio and for dropping by the blog. The Maya are an important culture, and I’m pleased to hear that your school is teaching classes on their history. Even though the exact reasons for the culture’s collapse is a mystery, their demise has lots to teach us, even in today’s world. ~James

  12. Your architecture reveals the stones and Mayan designs that I’ve always admired, but have never seen up close. May not ever get to this part of the world, so I’m traveling vicariously through your posts and pics. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Rusha, if you like architectural details, keep an eye out for our next post in a couple of days, which describes Uxmal in considerably more detail. A number of the temples and buildings at Uxmal are covered in fabulous mosaics that are nicely preserved and restored. I can’t seem to get enough of the Maya, and I think that it’s only right that I pass it along. 🙂 ~James

  13. Thank you for acknowledging the brilliant contributions of Jared Diamond in your discussion of the Mayan fall. We would all do well to pay attention to what Diamond suggests about social focus!

    1. Thanks for the comment and for dropping by the blog. I’m a big Diamond fan, and particulary liked “Guns, Germs, and Steel.” I enjoy his ability to gather the latest scientific ideas a synthesize them into a cohesive explanation for humans and their developement. ~James

    1. Thanks for the comment Pratima and for dropping by the blog. Maya architecture is not only attractive but is alive with symbolism. We’re lucky that so much of it has survived such harsh conditions. ~James

  14. Gallivance: I lived on the beach in Tulum for 3-summers straight as a kid in the 70’s. We traveled to Chichen Itza, Tekal and Pelinque several times but either we went to Uxmal and I don’t remember it or it wasn’t an attraction then,,,like dug out of the jungle and opened. I’m sharing this on my site about travel and cruising which is: LiveFree2SailFast.com. I was heavily influenced by the time there,,,,all of our boats have been named Tulum. Thanks for the story-

    1. Anything that gets kids out of their normal environment and routines is a good thing. And a place as exotic as Tulum must have been wonderful. I’m surprised that you went to Palenque and not Uxmal, but it gets missed by lots of folks which is unfortunate. BTW, this Uxmal post is getting a huge spike in traffic, and we aren’t sure why. If you don’t mind, can you let me know where you saw the post and how you managed to get to it. We keep an eye on our traffic and would love to know how spikes in views happen. Thanks. ~James

      1. James, your post and website were featured on the WordPress site. Thanks for the reply, I’m sure you are getting massive traffic. I think we skipped Uxmal because in the mid-70’s it was hard to get to and there were political things going on in the area,,,,like guerrillas and such, even in Mexico.

      2. Thanks for the feedback. We’ve figured it out, and yes, the traffic spike was what brought it to our attention. As it turns out, we weren’t notified, but as you said, this post was featured as an Editors’ Pick on the WordPress Discover site. It’s great news for us and our blog, because of all the recognition. We’ve been Freshly Pressed a couple of times, but they let us know in advance. Not sure why they stopped notifying us. Anyway, thanks again for the getting back with an answer. ~James

  15. Thank you sharing this magnificent experience! I am originally from Mexico and recently took my wife (Peruvian) to Cancun were we visited Coba and Tulum. Next time i will definitely take her here! Thank you for appreciating and sharing

    1. Thanks for the comment and for dropping by the blog. Mexico’s Maya and Aztec ruins are wonderful, and for North Americans, it’s a very easy trip. We’ve traveled to Peru, and the Inca ruins there really helped complete the picture of life in Mesoamerican before the conquistadores. Definitely make it to Uxmal if you can. ~James

  16. Being of Mexican descent (which really is just a mixture of South American Natives and Conquistadors) it is always exciting to see these type of structures being praised for their architecture and attention to details built by quite possibly by my ancestors. The Greeks had their aqueducts, the Egyptians have great pyramids of Giza and then you have structures of the Mayans and Aztecs still being discovered today. It’s amazing what we could learn about early humanity just from the things they left behind.

    1. Thanks for the comment and for dropping by the blog. We’ve visited Peru as well, and really enjoyed the Inca ruins and the people there. It would be an interesting “What if” question to know what would have happened if the Spanish had never made it to the New World. And your point about what we could learn about early humanity is good one. From the time of the first hunter-gatherers in the Americas up until the arrival of the Conquistores, the Maya and Aztec cultures developed without any outside influence. So they are an excellent study of early man. ~James

    1. Thanks Liath, for reblogging our post. I see that you write computer code, so you should enjoy the Maya. They built so many codes into their architecture that archaeologists are still trying to decipher it. ~James

      1. So I’ve heard, but their kind of code is a little different then what I write. I’ve only studied a little about the Maya in school but I do find them pretty fascinating which is why I had to reblog your post.

    1. Thanks for the comment and dropping by the blog Lynn. Fascinating is right, but the mystery is why their cities were deserted and the people scattered to the wind? ~James

    1. Thanks for the comment and for dropping by the blog, as well as for reblogging our Uxmal post. The Maya are just as interesting as many other ancient societies, and we appreciate your help getting the word out. ~James

  17. I’m happy to have found your blog because the ancient Mayan civilization and its history, as well as its compelling architecture, have always intrigued me. Thank you for exploring and photographing this area. I’ll certainly follow you to learn the “rest of the story.”

    1. Thanks for the comment and for dropping by the blog. There are new discoveries every year, and even with all this research, the Maya are still a mystery. But what an interesting culture. We’re lucky to have the ruins so close to home. ~James

  18. By the way, if you find any remains of gardens and/or garden structures, would you let me know? I may include notes from your research in a post about garden history in my blog, Invitation to the Garden.

    1. I’ve read that the Maya (royalty as well as peasants) got 70% of their nutrition from corn. This is an astounding statistic. So, needless to say, gardening was an important part of their culture. For years, experts have doubted that slash-and-burn techniques can account for all this corn, and they’ve wondered just how they managed to cultivate this much of a single crop. A relatively recent radar technology called LIDAR, has shown extensive terracing beneath the jungle that no one knew existed, so this may be part of the answer. Here’s a link to a Natgeo article about LIDAR.

  19. to bring into the context about Incas and the Aztec of the Mayan riviera civilization is like a museum unearthed right before you, to wander there is impressive to us but wonder how I&A folks manage. jwhile.blogspot.com

    1. Thanks for the comment and for dropping by the blog. As I’m sure you’re aware, the Maya and Aztec cities were deserted, but the people didn’t disappear. They are alive and well and scattered around Mexico. Activists in each of these communities are doing their part to bring their cultures to everyones’ attention. And I’m sure that the ancient cities are a part of this awareness program. ~James

    1. Henry, thanks for the comment and for dropping by the blog. You’re not the first person to recommend Tikal, and it’s definitely on our list for next time. Luckily, for us a trip to Central America is no big deal so we’ll make Tikal later for sure. ~James

  20. Loved learning about Uxmal and especially loved the detailed photos of the architecture! You’ve inspired me to check it out and maybe it will feature on my blog! 🙂 thanks 🙏

    1. Stephani, thanks for the comment and for dropping by the blog. I see from your blog that you’ve been to Mexico City, so if you didn’t get to the Yucatan, it’s an easy hop from MEX. ~James

      1. Thanks for stopping by my blog! Yep I’m kinda bummed that I didn’t research enough about Uxmal to go, but it’s another excuse for me to visit! (And I’ll take an excuse to go back!)

    1. Thanks for the comment and for dropping by the blog, as well as for reblogging our Uxmal post. It’s a wonderful place and we appreciate your help in getting the word out. ~James

    1. Thanks for the comment and for dropping by the blog, as well as for reblogging our Uxmal post. Everyone should see the ruins and we appreciate your help getting the word out. ~James

    1. Thanks for the comment and for dropping by the blog. And thanks for noticing that the post is concise. In these days of almost unlimited accesss to information and the inherent overload, I feel very strongly about making blog posts succint and to the point. It’s easier to write long form, but our readers seem to react well to the shorter format. ~James

    1. Thanks for the comment and for dropping by the blog. Getting to Uxmal will mean a trip across the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico as well, but it’s worth the effort. ~James

    1. Thanks for the comment and for dropping by the blog. Also, thanks very much for reblogging our post. Uxmal is a special place and we appreciate your efforts to help get the word out. ~James @ Gallivance.net

    1. Thanks for the comment and for dropping by the blog. Obviously, seeing the actual ruins adds much more architectural detail than is evident in the photos, but the real advantage is getting a feel for the place and the time. The day we visited Uxmal, a light breeze was rustling the leaves, the sun was beating down, and it was so quiet you could hear the birds in the forest. All this just added to the mystique of the ancient city. And after re-reading this, if there was ever a justification for travel, this feel for any place is it. ~James

  21. Many of these structures reveal similarities to the architecture of the ancient Jains in India. It is remarkable how ancient cultures expressed similar aesthetics though they lived so far apart. Thank you for posting these amazing photos.

    1. Thanks for the comment and for dropping by the blog. You make a very interesting point. I’ve visited many ancient cities around the world, and these recurring architectural and artistic elements have intrigued me as well. And even more interesting is that while the symbols look the same, their meanings vary from culture to culture. Maybe some expert will see this comment and provide an answer. ~James

    1. A trip to Uxmal had been on our bucket list for a long time, because like you, we love the detailed architecture. Although we had seen beautiful photos, we learned that it’s even better in person. 🙂 Thanks for visiting. So glad you enjoyed the post. ~Terri

    1. Thanks for the comment and for dropping by the blog. Also, thanks very much for reblogging our post. Uxmal is a special place and we appreciate your efforts to help get the word out. ~James @ Gallivance.net

    1. Hi Anu, Uxmal truly is an amazing place. If you love ruins and travel to Mexico, you might also enjoy Palenque – my personal fave because it’s set in the jungle. So glad that you stopped by. I’d love to know what other destinations you have on your bucket list. 🙂 One of mine is Easter Island. All the best, Terri

    1. Thanks for the comment and for dropping by the blog. Also, thanks very much for reblogging our post. Uxmal is a special place and we appreciate your efforts to help get the word out. ~James @ Gallivance.net

    1. Thanks Mickey and Yunni. I would love to see your bucket list since you’ve visited so many wonderful places. James and I were just talking about our bucket list – it’s still a mile long … and that’s a good thing! 🙂 ~Terri

      1. ha..ha.. likewise:) we just back from Madagascar 2 days ago and I am already looking for flight to go somewhere:) It seem so many places to visit and explore:) I wish you a wonderful weekend ahead. cheers. Yunni

  22. I’d really love to have spent some time in this part of the world, James. It’s too easy to forget the past and regard Mexico as simply a beach destination. This is part restoration? It looks like they’ve done a great job. I’ll have to follow you into the next post. 🙂 🙂

    1. Hi Jo, Given all of your great travels, I think you would really enjoy Mexico. And you’re right that it’s often thought of as a beach destination. Although the beaches are gorgeous, we really enjoy the interior of the country so much more. And Uxmal was fantastic! 🙂 ~Terri

  23. I don’t know why we didn’t get to Uxmal. We went to Chichen Itza, Edzna, Ek Balam, and Palenque but somehow missed Uxmal – now thanks to your post I feel as if I’ve had a taste of it. Congrats on being “Discovered”. Well deserved.

    1. HI Alison, Thanks so much for your kind words. And as for our trip to Mexico – we missed Edzna and Ek Balam! It’s always so hard to choose, but now thanks to you we can put them on our list for the next trip! 🙂 ~Terri

    1. Hi Manas, Many thanks for stopping by. So glad you enjoyed yourself. I just checked out your blog and I was blown away by your art work on A Visit to Tirupati! Beautiful. You are very talented. All the best, Terri

  24. Great post, I love thinking about the way Mayans used math in everything they did. Such an insanely intelligent group of people.

    1. Thanks for the comment Lacy and for dropping by the blog. I think that you must be clairvoyant. I’m working on a “10 things you might not know about the Maya” post, and literally, 10 minutes ago I was looking at the fact that the Maya invented the concept of zero. The Babylonians did it on one side of the globe, and the Maya developed it independently around the time of the birth of Christ. Freaky timing on your comment. ~James

      1. Hah! Sometimes when things like that happen I tend to interpret it as meaning you’re on the right path

  25. Congratulations on this post being selected fro Discover by the WordPress editors! I appreciate the suggestion of staying in Merida in an earlier comment. any issues with safety in the area?

    1. Sue, other than the normal travelers’ common sense security measures (you and Dave might have to ease up on the 2 a.m. club nights), there are no problems in this area. If you want to go to the east coast beaches, go there and stay and enjoy the beach. But, if the ruins farther west are what you want, base yourself in Merida. It’s a pretty small, laid back place and the only negative can be traffic noise, so select your hotel carefully. Other than that, you’ll enjoy it. ~James

      1. Well it will be tough to restrain from my usual dancing on the table at the clubs in the wee hours. Oh wait that was 40 years ago. 🙂

  26. Amazing!!
    With all the visual treat these places give,
    They represent history. Where we were at that time. Lessons to be understood.
    Thanks for the tour 😄

    1. Thanks for the comment and for dropping by the blog. Yes, you’re right – sites like Uxmal are certainly history you can walk through. The ruins make the people and the time more easily visualized. ~James

  27. I claim that I’m not a nerd. But I get SO sucked in reading things like this! I love reading about the ancient temples more than anything else in history! 😆

    1. Thanks for the comment Jen and for dropping by the blog. And I can’t imagine by any stretch that you would be considered a nerd because you enjoy antiquities. It just makes you more of a woman of the world. ~James

    1. Thanks for the comment Heidi and for dropping by the blog. The Yucatan and the Maya ruins are a great stop for lovers of antiquities, and I’m happy that you’ve added them to your list. You won’t be sorry. ~James

      1. Hi Terri! They all (Uxmal, Ek Balam and Coba) have large temples but based on your photos Uxmal looks particularly grand to me in comparison to the other two. Also, the stone looks brighter and better preserved. Coba is very spread out — you rent a bike and ride on wide paths between the sites so it has a feeling all of its own. Hopefully I’ll be posting soon about both. I look forward to your impressions of them in comparison. Such a fascinating region.

    1. Thanks for the comment Carina and for dropping by the blog. The Yucatan has a harsh climate which takes a toll on the ruins there. And as you’ve noticed, one of the wonderful things about Uxmal is its state of preservation. ~James

    1. Thanks for the comment and for dropping by the blog. Amazingly, the Maya built these temples and monuments totally by hand – no wheels, or draft animals. At the time, they must have seemed huge to the peasants and workers there. ~James

    1. Thanks for the comment Peter and for dropping by the blog. I’m always flattered when a serious photographer makes a positive comment about our photos. Uxmal is a very photogenic place. ~James

    1. Most of these temples are built of limestone, which, depending on it’s compostion, can be very resistent to weathering. But, when you build for kings, you’d better build to last. ~James

    1. Thanks for the comment Alistair and for dropping by the blog. I’m a believer in research and it’s one of the aspects of blogging that I really enjoy. And no matter where I travel, I see things that pique my interest which motivates me to do a bit more research. And thank goodness for mobile devices for research on the road. ~James

    1. Thanks for the comment and for dropping by the blog. I too am fascinated with the Maya, and have been since my first trip to Belize. It’s nice to have an important ancient culture so close to the US. ~James

    1. Thanks for the comment Malvika and for dropping by the blog. As an architect, I’m sure you appreciate Uxmal more than most. Imagine that every stone, from start to finish, was worked by hand. Amazing. ~James

    1. Thanks for the comment Preston and for dropping by the blog. The Maya used local stone, which for most of Central America is limestone – not the most resistant building material. So you’re right, it’s amazing that the temples are still standing. ~ James

  28. My husband and I are international travellers and love the “Off the beaten path” towns, cities, villages, fairs, hamlets, entertainment, festivals, industry (silk, tea), culinary, etc. What I love is the history. I have a blog too and that is the theme of my/our experiences.

    1. Thanks for the comment and for dropping by the blog. Every traveler wants to see the popular sights, but as you know, much a what makes cultures unique may have happened in small, unknown places that are out of the limelight. These types of attractions, and their histories are the frosting on the cake. ~James

    1. Thanks for the comment Carly and for dropping by the blog. From my early days as a traveler I’ve been fascinated by the Maya. The Maya Culture is known for its towering architecture, intricate calendar, ahead-of-its-time mathematics and astronomy, as well as its complex hieroglyphic writing system. But despite what continuing archaeological research has shown, the question of exactly what happened to this sophisticated society largely remains a mystery. Ultimately, most scholars believe it was a combination of causes: long-term drought, deforestation, overuse of dwindling resources, tribal infighting, and a ruling class unwilling to address the problems. ~James

  29. I’m curious, are there any daily activities in this place? in the past, of course this place was a cultural center and carried out many ceremonies …

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