El Mirador

At Sayil (one of the larger sites along the Maya “Puuc Route“), the Palace is the marquis attraction, but about 350 meters (1300 feet) southeast of it along a marked path is this interesting structure:

El Mirador

It was dubbed El Mirador (“The Lookout”), but was once a 5-room temple on a low pyramid. This shot is from the north (rear) and shows the 2 surviving rooms, and the surviving half of the once much-wider roof comb.

Palacio Norte

In the Maya ruins of Sayil, Mexico (along the “Puuc Route“):

Palacio Norte

If you’re looking for Puuc-style architecture, most of its sub-styles can be seen somewhere in this structure — its three levels were built in a mix of Puuc styles over hundreds of years. In the interest of preservation, you can’t go up the front steps any more, but with a decent long lens, you can get good views / shots of all sorts of architectural details even from down on the ground.

You’ll need either a wide lens, or some stitching software to get the whole thing in one image, though. I shot this with a 7 mm lens on my Olympus E-5 — so, equivalent FOV to a 14 mm full-frame setup.

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…