Uxmal, Mayan Archeological Site
Uxmal (Yucatec Maya: Óoxmáal) is a large pre-Columbian ruined city of the Maya civilization in the state of Yucatán,
Mexico. It is 78 km south of Mérida, Yucatán, or 110 km from that city on
Highway 261 towards Campeche, Campeche),
15 km south-southeast of the town of
Muna. Though it is thought to also have more than one hidden tomb of the gods.
Uxmal is pronounced “Oosh-mahl”. The place name is Pre-Columbian and it is
usually assumed to be an archaic Maya language phrase meaning “Built Three
Times”, although some scholars of the Maya language dispute this derivation.
Panorama of UxmalWhile much work has been done at the popular tourist
destination of Uxmal to consolidate and restore buildings, little in the way of
serious archeological excavation and research has been done here, therefore the
city’s dates of occupation are unknown and the estimated population (about
25,000 people) is at present only a very rough guess subject to change upon
better data. Most of the architecture visible today was built between about 700
Maya chronicles say that Uxmal was founded about 500 A.D. by Hun Uitzil Chac
Tutul Xiu. For generations Uxmal was ruled over by the Xiu family, was the most
powerful site in western Yucatan, and for a while in alliance with Chichen Itza
dominated all of the northern Maya area. Sometime after about 1200 no new major
construction seems to have been made at Uxmal, possibly related to the fall of
Uxmal’s ally Chichen Itza and the shift of power in Yucatan to Mayapan. The Xiu
moved their capital to Maní, and the population of Uxmal declined.
After the Spanish conquest of Yucatán (in which the Xiu allied themselves with
the Spanish), early colonial documents suggest that Uxmal was still an inhabited
place of some importance into the 1550s, but no Spanish town was built here and
Uxmal was soon after largely abandoned.