Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Riviera Maya Unique Attraction- Uxmal´s Pyramid of the Magician

The Pyramid of the Magician, also known as the House of the Dwarf (Casa del Adivino, or Casa del Enano), is one of the most famous Maya monuments of Uxmal, an archaeological site in the Puuc region of Yucatan, in the northern Maya Lowland of Mexico. The site, located not far from Mérida beside a road to Campeche, has attracted many visitors since the time of Mexico's independence.

It is the central structure in the Maya ruin complex of Uxmal. The Pyramid of the Magician is also referred to as the Pyramid of the Soothsayer.  Uxmal is located in the Puuc region of Mexico and was one of the largest cities on the Yucatan Peninsula. At its height, Uxmal was home to about 25,000 Maya. Like other Puuc sites, the city flourished from 600-1000 AD, with the great building period taking place between 700 and 1000 AD. The name Uxmal means 'thrice-built' in the Mayan Language- referring to the many layers of construction of its most imposing structure.

Several phases of the temple constructed on top the pyramid are visible while ascending the pyramid from the base to the top. Five construction phases have been detected (Temple I, II, III, IV, V). The facades of the different phases were decorated with stone masks of the rain god Chaac, typical of the Puuc architectural style of the region.

The city of Uxmal was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996 as it is considered that the ruins of the ceremonial structures represent the pinnacle of late Maya art and architecture in their design, layout and ornamentation. The Pyramid of the Magician is the largest building of the Uxmal complex. It is situated so that its western stairway faces the setting sun at the summer solstice.

An interesting fact about this site, is that as the spanish conquest beset the Yucatan- it would take some 170 years and the help of the Xiu Maya before the last recognized Maya stronghold fell (which was Itza, just north of Uxmal.) The Mayan´s also have preserved their language as well. Thus- to some effect-  the spanish quest for choosing to seize control thru combat has only proven to cause un-willed disunity amidst cultural preservation. The point being is that the Mayan´s have preserved their language up to today.

The pyramid, over which the actual temple stands, has a peculiar elliptical form.  Two staircases lead to the top of the pyramid. The Eastern staircase, the wider, has a small temple along the way that cut the stairway in half. The second access stair, the Western, faces the Nunnery Quadrangle and is decorated with friezes of the rain god Chaac.The Pyramid of the Magician is the first building a visitor encounters entering the ceremonial area of Uxmal, just north of the Ball Game Court and the Palace of the Governor and east of the Nunnery Quadrangle. The tourist entrance is near the foot of the Pyramid of the Magician

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