Any trip to the Riviera Maya is incomplete without a trip to learn about the Mayan Culture. Chichen Itza stands as one of the most important archaeological sites. The Main Concourse, the Observatory, the Sacred Cenote, the Ball Court and the Temple of a Thousand Columns, are all amazing examples of the architecture and still stand in the shadows of the Pyramid of Kukulkan.
Twice a year, during the spring and fall equinoxes, a magical play of light and shadow creates the appearance of a snake gradually doing down the stairs of Chichen Itza to complete the iconic feathered serpent. There are no words to express the splendor created between nature and this structure to produce this display. Although Chichen Itza is the most popular, here are a few lesser popular archaeological sites.
4 Underestimated Archaeological Sites in Yucatan:
This large Mayan community is located towards Campeche, about 80 km from Merida. The site is less known than Chichen Itza, probably due to its location. Uxmal includes 15 groups of buildings known for their highly detailed and decorated buildings covering about 2 km. The city also includes the Pyramid of the Magician, the Plaza of the Birds, the Nunnery Quadrangle, the Ball Court, the Governor’s Palace, the Great Pyramid, the Palomar, the North Group, the Old House, the Graveyard, and the Temple of the Dongs. Each building is decorated with highly detailed, precious sculptures made of thousands of small and perfectly polished stones. The opportunity to see this city is well worth the drive.
Located 26 km north of Valladolid, this Mayan treasure is hidden amongst the giant trees. Referred to as the “Black Jaguar,” 45 structures have been discovered surrounded by two concentric stone walls. There is a ball court, an arch leading to a beautiful arch that led to the sacred path that connected Maya kingdoms. There are also beautifully carved stone hieroglyphics. Many architectural styles are unique to this city, including carvings that resemble winged angels.
It is located at km 45 on the Merida-Acanceh road. Known as “Flag of the Maya,” the walled city of Mayapan is considered the last great Maya capital. However, it is not a place that has had large buildings, and there have been over four thousand architectural structures discovered. The city of Mayapán was built in the likeness of Chichén Itzá. The Castle of Kukulcán is a smaller scale copy of the Castle of Chichén Itzá.
It has nine staggered bodies which, together, reach a height of 15 meters. The Temple of the Painted Niches stands out for its mural painting, where the façade with five painted temples on five niches that symbolize the entrances to the temples can be seen. The Temple of the Frescos also has mural paintings on the north and south walls of its central building. The Observatory or the Snail, which was probably for ceremonial use, is a circular building divided by a wall. With the fall of Chichén Itzá, Mayapán developed its style, oriented toward the reworking of ancient forms.
X’Cambo is still considered as a place of pilgrimage and worship to the Virgin of X’Cambó, who, according to tradition over 50 years ago, appeared on the site in a chapel built on the pre-Hispanic buildings. Besides its historical importance, it still is a point located in a natural and ecological environment. Each year in May, the festival of the Virgin Mary takes place. The celebration in her honor is very typical and colorful. It is located 6 km from Puerto Telchac and 2 km from the coast, almost on the Progreso-Telchac road.
Next time you come to Mexico, remember to visit these impressive archaeological sites. Moreover, if you’re planning to live in the Riviera Maya, please let us know! At Top Mexico Real Estate, we can help you find your dream home in paradise. Contact us for more information.
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