Aerial view of Uxmal. The city's name means "Thrice Built" or "Prosperous Land" in Yucatec Mayan. The central part of the ancient city is a combination of pyramids, quadrangles, plazas, palace structures, and a ball court. Uxmal was built over several hundred years during the period of its greatest prosperity beginning in 700 CE.
The Pyramid of the Soothsayer appears in the background, as seen through a corbel arch. Rising over 105 feet (32 meters) high, it is the tallest manmade structure in the Puuc region. It represents three cosmic levels that link the sky, the Earth, and the Underworld and creates an explicit relationship between the gods, the ancestors, and humans.
On the day of the zenith passage of the Sun, the Sun rises in alignment with the middle of the eastern side of the Quadrangle of the Nuns. Careful and precise observations of the zenith passage of the Sun allowed the ancient Maya to calculate the length of the solar year.
The head and rattle of Q'ukumatz (or Kukulkán) is carved in stone on a background representing a starry sky and the whirlwind of Huracán.
The mesoamerican ballgame was played by teams of men wearing protective gear around their waist and hips – the site of impact for the dense rubber ball. This ballcourt hoop at Uxmal has hieroglyphs with the calendar date 649 CE. It is known that this court was in use for 260 years.
The Palace of the Governor was built from 875 to 925 CE. The building has astronomical significance, with both solar and Venus alignments. The width of the building spans the path of the Sun on the horizon from the winter to the summer solstice.
Pyramid at the Oxkintok Archaeological Site in the Puuc region. This city, also known as Tzat Tun Tzat (the labyrinth), has hieroglyphs with Calendar dates ranging from 475 to 859 CE.
More than three hundred Chac masks decorate this temple in the Kabah Archaeological Site. This city is connected to Uxmal by a sac be' that is 11 miles (18 kilometers) long.
The Palace at the Sayil Archaeological Site in the Puuc region. Sayil means "Place of the Muleteer Ants" in Yucatec Mayan. The site hosted up to 17,000 inhabitants.
Palace structure at the Xlapac Archaeological Site in the Puuc region. Xlapac means "Old Walls" in Yucatec Mayan. This building shows the mosaic style of Maya architecture with stones fitting seamlessly together.
The Loltún Archaeological Site, a system of underground caves, harbors evidence for the longest human presence in the Puuc area, spanning from 9000 BCE to 1250 CE. Loltún means "Stone Flower" in Yucatec Mayan. Caves have important significance to the Maya, who believe they are portals to the Underworld.
Chacmultún, an Archaeological Site in the Puuc region, means "Mounds of Red Rock" in Yucatec Mayan. At this site, archaeologists found several conch and shell objects with carved Maya calendar symbols.
Members of the Uxmal Archaeological Restoration Team visiting the Archaeological Site of Labná in the Puuc region.