The Archaeological site of Uxmal, Óoxmáal in Yucatec Maya, is located 78 kilometres south of Mérida, Yucatán; and 15 kilometres southeast of the town of Muna; at 78 feet above sea level; and travelling by car it is about 1.5 hours from Mérida.
Despite of the continuous studying of the archaeological site to consolidate and restore the buildings, this popular tourist destination has not specific dates of occupation and population. However, the estimates of its foundation are about 700A.D. getting to have 25,000 inhabitants; and its period of construction is between 700 and 1100A.D. where in most of the building are unveiled symbolic motifs and sculptures of its god Chaac, the god of the rain.
When the process of restoration finished, Uxmal was in better condition than many other Maya sites. This fact was possible thanks to its well and unusual construction by the Xiu, using well cut stones and setting them into a core of concrete.
Uxmul is characterized by the Maya architecture, where is seen the elegance and beauty of the buildings very similar to and compare with Palenque. In both archaeological sites predominates the Pucc style of Maya. Thanks to this good state of preservation it is possible for the tourists to have a better idea of how the entire center was in ancient times.
Some remarkable buildings include The Governor's Palace atop a huge platform with longest facades; the fine and unusual Pyramid of the Magician, which layers are oval and placed over older ones, a very typical way of construction; The Nunnery Quadrangle, called by the Spaniards built with several fine quadrangles and carved facades both on the inside and outside faces; The Ballcourt, the traditional building for playing ballgame made in 901A.D. by the ruler Chan Chak K'ak'nal Ajaw.
There are also many more buildings, varying in size and preservation, which add a mysterious significance to Uxmal; such as quadrangles, monuments, and temple-pyramids called like House of the Turtles, South Temple, House of the Birds, North Long Building, House of the Doves, and Grand Pyramid.
Uxmal writing, like many Maya cultures, was the hieroglyphic inscriptions. They were also found in group on a stone stele; picturing older rulers of Uxmal and showing signs of have been broken and repaired; possibly caused by some war or battle.
According to the Maya chronicles, Uxmal was founded about 500 by Hun Uitzil Chac Tutul Xiu, and for several generations the city was ruled by the Xiu family. The history tells that they converted the site into the most powerful site in western Yucatan, and getting an alliance with the Chichen Itza Culture, both dominated all of the northern Maya area.
Possibly, about 1200A.D. there were not more construction made at Uxmal, which would be related with the fall of the alliance with the Chichen Itza Culture; shifting the power of the region to the Mayapan. This inconvenient made that Xiu had to move its center and capital to Maní, which caused the declination of Uxmal population.
Later, when the Spaniards arrived to these regions, Xiu allied with them. According to some colonial documents, Uxmal was still inhabited, but when the Spanish moved forward and leaving no construction in there, Uxmal was soon largely abandoned.
During the Modern Era, Uxmal became very popular attracting many visitors.
The first published account of its existence was in 1838 by Jean Frederic Waldeck in 1838; and two years later, two European architectures, John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood made drawings that were used to construct a duplicate of the ancient city. But, in 1863, for the visit of Empress Carlota of Mexico, some phallic architecture elements were removed from the facades.
The first map of the site was made by Sylvanus G. Morley in 1909 including some overlooked buildings. In 1927, a project of the Mexican government consolidated some structures in order to prevent its collapsing.