Uxmal

 

Uxmal, in the northwestern Yucatan, has some fantastic reconstructed architecture, and you’ll wander for a while visiting it all. It’s been open to the public for a long while, and its reconstruction paradigm is like that of Chichén Itzá—much of the vegetation has been cleared, and expect it to be sunny and hot. As you look across the jungle, you are reminded that the area you and the tourists visit is only a small (and unusual) part of the landscape that the ancient Maya occupied. By the way, that’s one massive roof comb!

You gotta love the line of turtles marching across this façade, like the lightbulb words on a Times Square marquee. They’re united with vertical elements, as at Sayil. The towering doorway on the right is one of many on the extremely long Governor’s Palace. Think of what this looked like when it had a fresh coat of paint!

Discretely assembled away from the main tourist paths is this assortment of immense stone penises, carefully preserved from the weather by a palm-frond roof, collected from…where exactly? They’re taller than your knee (taller ones are reported), and somewhat individualized. Read more about the stone phalli of the northern Yucatán here.