City of Uxmal with interactive map of the ruins

Uxmal, Governor's Palace

The Governor's Palace, with Pyramid of the Magician in the background

At Uxmal, legible calendar dates and ruler names from inscriptions are scarce, but those that exist primarily involve Lord Chac, the ruler who presided over the brilliant but brief florescence of Uxmal around 895–908 AD and who created its greatest architectural triumphs.

In a ceremonial city where the religious and charismatic authority of its ruler was the primary source of power, the degree to which Lord Chac was able to integrate formalized, theatrical ritual into his city planning and architecture is remarkable. For example, cosmological processes and solstice events are used in building placement to emphasize the ruler's shamanistic role as custodian of esoteric knowledge and power.

City planning and design framed ever-changing vistas for ritual processions and ceremonies, and the buildings themselves provided stages and platforms to support elaborate ceremony and dance. Acoustical effects were created to enhance public performances.

All of Lord Chac's buildings use rich iconography to message supernatural power, while the sheer grandiosity of his building campaign unmistakably conveys his personal power to summon and harness the enormous human labor needed to complete these projects.


Map of Uxmal: Click arrows to see photos

Clickable Uxmal site map with links to quality photos of major buildings. Includes informational text about archaeology and architecture

1. Chase, Arlen F., et al. "States and Empires in Ancient Mesoamerica." Ancient Mesoamerica, vol. 20, no. 2, 2009, pp. 175–182. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/26309231. Accessed 17 Apr. 2021.

2. Dunning, Nicholas P., and Jeff Karl Kowalski. "Lords of the Hills: Classic Maya Settlement Patterns and Political Iconography in the Puuc Region, Mexico." Ancient Mesoamerica, vol. 5, no. 1, 1994, pp. 63–95. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/26307186. Accessed 17 Apr. 2021.

Uxmal: Northern Long Building Uxmal: Pyramid of the Magician Uxmal: View from top of Pyramid of the Magician Uxmal: House of the Birds Uxmal: Platform of Governor's Palace & House of Turtles Uxmal: Ballcourt Uxmal: Nunnery Quadrangle, East Building Uxmal: Nunnery Quadrangle, North Building Uxmal: Nunnery Quadrangle, South Building Uxmal: Nunnery Quadrangle, West Building Uxmal: House of the Turtles Uxmal: Rear of House of the Governor Uxmal: House of the Governor Uxmal: The Palace and the Pyramid Uxmal: The Grand Pyramid Uxmal: View from the Grand Pyramid Uxmal: View from the Southwest Uxmal: House of the Doves Uxmal: The South Group