the oval-shaped Pyramid of the Magician, the most characteristic building at the Maya site Uxmal

Uxmal is the most important Maya site along what has become known as the Ruta Puuc, in western Yucatan. Evidence of pottery shows that the site was already occupied by 800 BC, but most of the architecture for which the site is famous dates from what is called the Late Classical period, 600-900 AD.

the plan for the Uxmal site, with the distribution of the various groups of buildings

There are several groups of buildings. The most eye catching structure is the oval-shaped 28 meters high Pyramid of the Magician, with a temple at the top. Another impressive group of buildings is called the Nunnery Quadrangle – nothing to do with nuns, of course, the name being given by the Spanish colonials. Here, four exquisitely decorated buildings surround a large courtyard. Outside this, steps lead to a well-preserved – and restored – ball court, and then up to the lovely decorated House of the Turtles and to the Palace of the Governor. On the side is another pyramid, called the Great Pyramid, with stairs all the way to the top, which may be climbed. Next to this is the so-called Pigeon House, with its remarkable façade. There is much more about Uxmal on

Here just a few more of my photographs, with a focus on the decorations.

typical Ruta Puuc decorations around the Pyramid of the Magician

close up of the decorations

one of the buildings of the Nunnery Quadrangle

example of the exquisite facade decoration of one of the Nunnary buildings

the snake head and tail, same facade

mask decoration on the Nunnary facade

small sculpture of a warrior on the facade

another little sculpture, same facade

and this one, tiny in comparison

another of the Nunnary buildings, the north building

a throne in front of the north building, with the request not to go and sit on it

one side of the ball court

the House of the Turtles

one of the turtles as decoration

and another one – they are all different!

the impressive Palace of the Governor

and one of the entrance arches to the Palace

here, again, fabulously detailed decorations

the Great Pyramid, ‘climbable’ all the way to the top temple

the House of the Pigeons

and there is some colour, and some fauna on the site, as well

flora and fauna taking on the same colour, occasionally

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