The Labná Arch

Labná is a neat little Maya ruin that doesn’t get nearly as much visitor traffic as it deserves. On the east end of the “Puuc Route” in the Yucatan, Labná isn’t particularly close to any major modern cities — but it and its neighboring sites are an easy day trip from Mérida.

Should you ever make it to Labná, its arch is its claim to (touristic) fame:

The Labná Arch from the west

The unusual (and somewhat funny) thing about this arch is where it’s found. Most arches at Maya sites served as ceremonial entrances to the cities — a way to both announce your arrival at the city, and demarcate the boundaries of the city core.

But this arch is different — it separates the royal from the mercantile parts of Labná. This side of the arch (the fancier of the two) is what you’d see as you were walking into the royal part of town (those two ground-level doors may have been where guards were stationed). The other face of the arch, far plainer, announced your arrival into the home of the merely affluent.

I guess some things never change…

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