Thursday, 26 September 2013

Kabah Mayan Ruins, an archaeological site located in the Mexican state of Yucatan

When you are travelling in the Cancun and/or Merida area, Kabah Mayan Ruins are worth a visit. They are an interesting archaeological site located south of the pyramids of Uxmal in the Mexican State of Yucatan and 90 miles south of Merida. They are the second largest Mayan ruins after Uxmal. The word “Kabah” means "Strong Hand" in Mayan language. 

Kabah Mayan Ruins
The Kabah Maya ruins are located along what is called the "Puuc Route", named after the many sites around Uxmal where the Mayan Puuc style 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 you should not miss during your vacations in Mexico.

The site was inhabited from about 350 BC, but most of the architecture was built around 700-1100 AD. Kabah was abandoned around 1200, before the Spanish conquest of Yucatan. In early times Kabah was probably a thriving city, an adversary of Uxmal, but they eventually allied.

The Kabah Maya Ruins feature the "Palace of the Masks", which is a 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. While in the Riviera Maya you find plenty of cenotes, here there exist no cenotes nor rivers and locals were entirely dependent on the rain. Thus, they constructed geometric drainage systems of canals to help irrigate the land. It is believed water scarcity caused the city to eventually be abandoned.

Temple 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, and

• 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 its surface.

Kabah Arch

What to do in Kabah Maya Ruins:

The ruins offer an incredible trip during your vacations in Merida and/or Cancun. You will be able to admire the following:

• The biggest draw at Kabah is El Palacio de los Mascarones (Palace of the mentioned above). 

• Behind the Palace of the Masks, you will find El Palacio. You can climb it to the top and look through the many doorways, although nothing much is inside.

• On the east side of El Palacio are two restored atlantes (two male figures used as a support column). These are unusual because Mayan statues don’t normally portray human figures. One figure has a jaguar mask while the other is sporting no head at all.

El Palacio
How to get there:

This Mayan archeological site is located on Highway 261, 140 km south of Merida, near Ticul city, and 22km south east of Uxmal. It is definitely easy to visit during your vacations in Merida or Cancun.

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 and about 80 miles (130km) from Merida on the Mex 261. Definitely a worthwhile day trip!