Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Kabah Maya ruins near Merida, Mexico

Kabah Maya Ruins is an archaeological site located south of the ruins of Uxmal in the Mexican State of Yucatan. The word “Kabah” means "Strong Hand" in Mayan language.

Kabah Maya ruins are located along what is called the "Puuc Route", named after the many sites around Uxmal where the Maya Puuc style of building can be found. It is here in the inland hill country of the Yucatan peninsula that the best of Puuc architecture can be found. Although only a small part of this site has been excavated, it is home to some very interesting and unusual buildings and sculptures.

The site was inhabited from about 350 B.C., but most of the architecture was built around 700-1100 A.D. Kabah was abandoned around 1200 A.D., before the Spanish conquest of Yucatan. It is thought that in early times Kabah was a thriving city, an adversary of Uxmal, but they eventually allied.

View of Kabah pyramids
Kabah Mayan ruins is home to some amazing attractions, such as the "Palace of the Masks", which has façade decorated with hundreds of stone masks of the long-nosed rain Mayan god Chaac.

The obsessive repetition of Chaac speaks about the strong importance of rain for the region, due to the lack of water. In the Riviera Maya, there are plenty of cenotes, but here there are no cenotes nor rivers, and locals were entirely dependent on the rain. Remarkably, they constructed geometric drainage systems of canals to help irrigate the land. It is believed that the scarcity of water caused the city to eventually be abandoned.

Palace of the masks
The site spans many square miles, though only the ceremonial center has been cleared and restored. The rest is still covered by the jungle. Located in the middle of nowhere, this ancient lost city offers you a number of palaces and low stone buildings, such as:
  • The Arch of Kabah, a gateway to the city that links it to Uxmal, via sacbe, a Mayan ceremonial walkway;
  • the Temple of the Columns;
  • the House of the Witch.
A large pyramid at Kabah ruins is still waiting to be uncovered. No one knows what artistic treasures may be found under the overgrown jungle trees and vines that cover the surface. To see our tours to Yucatan, please click here.

Kabah Arch
What to do in Kabah Mayan Ruins
  • Behind the Palace of the Masks is El Palacio. You can climb the steps and look through the many doorways at the top.
  • The biggest draw at Kabah is El Palacio de los Mascarones. The impressive building at Kabah is CODZ POOP (Palace of the masks) with almost 300 masks of Chac (the rain god or sky serpent). Beyond Codz Poop is a small pyramid and EL PALACIO which has traditional Puuc architecture.
  • On the east side of El Palacio, you will find two restored Atlantes (two male figures used as support columns). These are unusual because Mayan statues don’t normally portray human figures. One figure has wearing a jaguar mask while the other is sporting no head at all.
How to get to Kabah Ruins

This Mayan archaeological site is located on Highway 261, 140 km south of Merida near Ticul city and 22km south east of Uxmal.

If you stay at a hotel in Merida, the best way is to take a tour to visit the Puuc Route which in addition to this archaeological site includes the Mayan sites of Labna, Sayil and Xlapak and the Caves of Loltun.

Kabah is situated right next to the Merida - Campeche road just 20 km south of Uxmal. By road, Kabah is about 75 miles (120 km) from Campeche on the Mex 261 and about 80 miles (130km) from Merida on the Mex 261.

Where to stay? We recommend you stay in a hotel in Merida and hit Uxmal, Kabah, Sayil, Xlapak and Labna.