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Progreso, Uxmal and Kaba
2004-07-08 03:52:00 : Odd Benestad d.y
After the awesome Chichén Itzá we drove north to Progreso to be more close to the next Maya sites.
We arrived in the little town Progreso by late evening, and we truly felt we had done something stupid. Most of the town either was for rent or closed. We checked out a couple of hotels, but they were in very bad condition. At last we found a nice hotel, Condhotel Progreso, with nice rooms and very nice prices. We had some dinner at the only open restaurant by the seaside before we went to bed.

The next morning what we thought to be a ghost town, had transformed itself into a cozy little town by the sea, with a nice beach, a lot of people and lovely scenery.

We had some breakfast and headed for the main attraction of the day, Uxmal.

Uxmal is by some ranked to be among the top Mayan archaeological sites, and it was first settled around 600AD. It was an important city in the region, and it encompassed several satellite towns like Labná, Sayil, Xlapac and Kabha. It was abandoned around 900AD and drought problems may have been the reason. The scarcity of water in the region was a challenge to Mayan engineering skill, and they buildt series of reservoirs and chultunes (cisterns) lined with lime mortar to catch and hold water during the dry season.

The first structure you face when entering the site is Casa del Adivino, The Magician's House. It's buildt on an oval base, an streches 39m into the sky. The temple you see today is the fifth version of it, as there is four older temples within it. The entrance you can see high up on the stair, was in fact the balustrade of the fourth temple.

Directly behind it is Cuadrángulo de las Monjas, Nuns' Quadrangle. It consist of four temples with a total of 74 rooms situated around a big courtyard. The facade of the temple to the west is decorated with reliefs of plumed serpents in good condition.

In the middle of the south temple is an arced passage leading out to an open space with a small temple to the left and the ballcourt in front.

From the ballcourt you can look directly up at the Casa de las Tortugas, the house of the turtles. The building has got it's name from the decoration of different turtles around the upper cornice. The turtle was associated with the raingod Chac, and according to Mayan myth when people suffered from drought, so did the turtles and both prayed to Chac to send rain.

The next grand structure is behind the Casa de las Tortugas on the same plateau. It is the Palacio del Gobernador, the House of the Governor, and it is considered one of the most outstanding buildings in all of Mesoamerica. Two arced passages divide the building into three distinct sections. Above the central entrance is an elaborate trapezoidal motif with a string of Chac masks interwoven.

On the courtyard outside the Palacio del Gobernador thrones the statue of the two headed jaguar.

Just 23km southeast of Uxmal is the ruins of Kabah. The first structure is to your right and you climb the stairs to El Palacio de los Mascarones, Palace of Masks. The facade is an awsome sight, covered in nearly 300 masks of Chac the rain god. On the backside of this structure is two restored atlantes, and these are among a very few three dimensional human figures at a Mayan site.

The next structure is the El Palacio with a big courtyard. The buildings facade has several doorways, and two of them have columns in the middle. This is typical of the Puuc architectural style.

Some steps at north side of the El Palacio puts you on a path leading a couple of hundred meters through the jungle to the last structure of the site, the Templo de las Columnas. A nice walk, and eventhough it's said one should be aware of snakes and spiders, the only thing we saw was this.
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2004-07-08 03:52:00
Progreso, Uxmal and Kaba
2004-07-05 00:31:00
Chichén Itzá
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