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pyramid of the magician

Uxmal is a large Pre-Columbian ruined city of the Maya civilization in the state of Yucatan, near Merida city, Mexico.


While much work has been done at Uxmal to consolidate and restore buildings, little in the way of serious archeological excavation and research has been done here, therefore the city's dates of occupation are unknown and the estimated population (about 25,000 people) is at present only a very rough guess subject to change upon better data. Most of the architecture visible today was built between about 700 and 1100, although it was founded around 500.


The Adivino or "Pyramid of the Magician", is a great pyramid temple unusual in several ways. The layers of the step pyramid are oval, rather than the usual rectangular or square shape. It was a common practice in Mesoamerica to build new temple pyramids atop older ones, but here a newer pyramid was built centered slightly to the east of the older pyramid, so that on the west side the temple atop the old pyramid is preserved, with the newer temple above it.


Standing 117 feet (38 m) high, the Pyramid of the Magician dominates your view as you enter the complex. Unusually built on an elliptical base, this pyramid is the result of five superimposed temples. Parts of the first temple can be seen when ascending the western staircase; the second and third are accessed by the eastern staircase, in an inner chamber at the second level. The fourth temple is clearly visible from the west side, a giant Chac mask marks the entrance and Chac’s mouth is the door.


Uxmal, Yucatan, Mexico.

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Taken on April 9, 1989