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Tuesday, November 28, 2023

New Uxmal Temples Will Open to the Public by the End of the Year

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New sections of Uxmal will soon be open for the public to explore.

The Puuc Cemetery is among the impressive structures to open to the public officially. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

It is more likely than not that these new sections will be open to the public by the end of the year, though no official date has been announced. 

The announcement was made during a press conference before an upcoming conference on tourism and archaeology in Yucatán’s Puuc region.

One of the best views of Uxmal from the enormous complex known as Governor’s Palace. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

In reality, these structures have been intermittently accessible for those willing to wander through the brush at certain points during the past few decades. 

However, the move to officially incorporate these new areas into the official visitor’s trail means that restoration efforts and newly cleared paths are likely to be part of the plan.

Several of the temples to be open to the public have never been restored, though they have received maintenance over the years. 2003 photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

These efforts in Uxmal, as well as several other sites such as Kabah and Chichén Viejo, come as part of the PROMESA program tied to the Tren Maya.

Uxmal is an ancient Maya city of the Classical period in the present-day Mexican state of Yucatán. It is considered one of the most important archaeological sites of Maya culture and is the second-most visited archaeological attraction in Yucatán, only behind Chichén Itzá.

El Palomar is a Puuc-style building in Uxmal, which is characterized by its low, smooth walls that open onto ornate friezes based on representations of typical Maya huts. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

Earlier: Construction of Tren Maya HQ in Mérida advances at a rapid pace

“We have wanted to do this for quite a long time now, so this is extremely good news. Currently, Uxmal receives roughly 350,000 visitors a year. Still, with these improvements and the connectivity offered by the Tren Maya, we can see that number jump to nearly one million,” said archaeologist José Huchim Herrera, director of the Uxmal Archaeological Park. 

The Palace of the Phalluses features, aside from the obvious, several interesting stelae dating to the classical period. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

Among the restored structures and complexes is the grand temple known as El Palomar, the Puuc Cemetery adorned with glyphs and figures of human skulls, as well as the Palace of the Phalluses, among several others. 

Structures like the Grand Pyramid adjacent to the Governor’s Palace are also receiving maintenance. However, this will likely mean that scaling this temple (the largest in Uxmal) will no longer be possible.

Despite what many believe, the Grand Pyramid, not the Temple of the Magician, is Uxmal’s largest structure. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

Uxmal is about 90 kilometers south of downtown Mérida and takes an hour and a half to reach by car. It is easy to find tour operators in downtown Mérida who offer day trips there. Uxmal is large, and the main ceremonial center alone takes no less than two hours to explore, so bring water, good shoes, a hat, and sunblock.

A section of the Nunnery Quadrangle’s facade is lit up during Uxmal’s video mapping show, which was inaugurated in 2021. It depicts imagery alluding to the arrival of Catholic Conquistadores to the ancient city. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
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.
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