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The sleepy town of Muna is famous for two things. First off is its proximity to famous Puuc archaeological sites such as Uxmal and Kabah, which make it a tourist hub of sorts.
Second, the town is famous for its hill just to the south, which is the highest point in the state of Yucatán.
The pleasant town of Muna is home to roughly 10,000 people, most of whom are of indigenous and mestizo heritage.
Traditional identities are strong in Muna, with many locals seeing themselves as the direct descendants of the mighty Xiu who ruled over Uxmal and the entire region.
When asked, the people of Muna are keen to speak about their glorious past, so it is unsurprising to see representations of Prehispanic culture all over the place.
But as it turns out, you don’t need to leave Muna to see ruins, as the archaeological site of Muna Sur sits on the outskirts of town.
The archaeological site itself is fairly modest in size but is a great example of early Puuc architecture and sits above an artificial platform.
Muna Sur was surveyed and partially restored in the early 2000s but has since been almost entirely consumed by vegetation.
The artificial platform and archaeological site are dominated by a large three-chambered structure which likely served as the elite residence of a local ruler.
The rooms or chambers found inside the structure are quite large and contained and were likely vaulted instead of roofed with perishable materials.
Some scholars argue that given the humidity of Yucatán, it is likely that elite members of society maintained large stone residences but actually lived and slept much of the time in much cooler homes roofed with palm leaves.
The residential complex in Muna Sur can be dated to the early classic period, given its architecture featuring a simple molding pattern and a lack of stone adornments like rain god masks on its facade.
Within the site, it’s also possible to see fairly well-preserved limestone carved walls that would have supported multiple structures.
At Muna Sur, we can also see evidence of what appears to be a ceremonial platform, likely used to perform dances or rituals. Then again, it may turn out to be the foundation of an ancient kitchen.
If you go
Visiting Muna Sur is well worth the trip, especially if you find yourself in the region and are the type of person who enjoys exploring archaeological sites off the beaten path.
Muna Sur has no parking lot, so drivers avail themselves of a nearby clearing on the side of the road.
If you find yourself in Muna in the morning, stop by Doña Rebe’s Lonchería El Regalo de Dios, Calle 26 125, for some of the best tacos you are ever likely to have. The roadside restaurant is near the northernmost entrance to town and opens at 6 a.m.
Other points of interest in town include Muna’s colorful cemetery, adorned with murals representing Mesoamerican death iconography, including the lord of the underworld Ah Puchand his divine messengers.
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy, and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway.