The most-famous (if not quite the tallest) structure at the ancient Maya ruins of Palenque, it’s the Temple of the Inscriptions:
Tag Archives: Yucatán
The House of Doves (A.K.A. Casa de las Palomas) in the Maya ruins of Uxmal has one face that tends to be shown in tourist brochures and online photos. This is the other (north) face:
When I last visited, the structure was getting a bit of touch-up work done (thus, the scaffolding you can faintly see in the left of this photo). I think it’s a very photogenic structure regardless — even on the less-pretty side and with scaffolding in full view.
A carving, seen near the top of the Great Pyramid in the ancient Maya ruins of Uxmal:
On the south end of the Maya ruins of Sayil, Mexico (along the “Puuc Route“):
Did I mention this is down on the south end of Sayil? It’s a good kilometer south of the bulk of the ruins, but a pretty easy walk (carry water, naturally). This was originally a 2-storey structure, but the top floor has completely collapsed. The Puuc Classic Mosaic false columns (they’re limestone veneer) on its faÃ§ade are pretty impressive, though.
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:
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.
Palace of the Governors
Likely the best surviving example of Puuc-style architecture, at the ancient Maya ruins of Uxmal, Mexico:
Many Maya structures still bear the nicknames given whimsically to them by their re-discoverers in the 19th and 20th centuries. Whether by luck or prescience, the name of this structure fits it surprisingly well — archaeological work here indicates that it was once used by the rulers of Uxmal in its heyday.
Snakes and people
Mosaic details in the Nunnery quadrangle at the ancient Maya ruins of Uxmal in Yucatán, Mexico:
Uxmal is justly known for its great mosaic stonework — amazing to think that this was all carved with stone tools (obsidian, to be specific).
This is the north face of El Castillo (a.k.a., the Temple of Kukulkan) at the ruins of Chichén Itzá in Yucatán, Mexico:
It’s pretty much the image you see of this structure on postcards, calendars, T-shirts, and the like — and it’s harder to capture than you might think. Since it’s a “marquis” structure at one of the most visited of Maya ruins, everybody wants to get their picture taken in front of it. So if you want a “clean” photograph (i.e., no tourists) of the structure, you’ll have to do what I did — take a dozen or so photos of the thing, then use Photoshop Elements to combine them.
Derived from the Mayan for “large hill,” Nohoch Mul is by far the largest (and to judge from pictures online, the most-photographed) structure at the Maya ruins of Cobá:
As you can see, parts of it (on the sides of the stairway) are in rough shape — but it’s got the advantage of being one of the largest Maya pyramids that visitors are still allowed to climb. And for those with issues with heights, a rope is provided to help you get up and down.
The view from the top is pretty impressive, too!
At the serpent’s mouth
At the foot of the stairs on the north face of El Castillo, in the Maya ruins of Chichén Itzá, Mexico:
Should you make it to Chichén Itzá, just remember — you can walk right up to the steps, but don’t even think about climbing them. Not that many years ago (until 2006), you could climb these to check out the temple at the top (and take in a fantastic view). But sadly, somebody slipped and fell down the stairs (to their death) — the structure’s been off-limits ever since.