The “Nunnery Quadrangle”

A panorama from the ancient Maya ruins of Uxmal, Mexico:


This shot is looking roughly southeast across the quadrangle — from the top steps of the quadrangle’s North Building. On the horizon, you can see the Governor’s Palace and the Great Pyramid.

El Mirador

At Sayil (one of the larger sites along the Maya “Puuc Route“), the Palace is the marquis attraction, but about 350 meters (1300 feet) southeast of it along a marked path is this interesting structure:

El Mirador

It was dubbed El Mirador (“The Lookout”), but was once a 5-room temple on a low pyramid. This shot is from the north (rear) and shows the 2 surviving rooms, and the surviving half of the once much-wider roof comb.

Temple XII, Palenque

A.K.A. the Temple of the Skull, from the stucco carving of a rabbit’s skull at the base of one of the temple’s pillars.

Temple XII, Palenque

In the 1990s, archaeologists found a passageway leading from the temple to a burial chamber for a person of some importance (likely local royalty) and his attendants. This is one of the first structures you see when you enter the ruins of Palenque.

Palace of the Governors

Likely the best surviving example of Puuc-style architecture, at the ancient Maya ruins of Uxmal, Mexico:

Palace of the Governors

Many Maya structures still bear the nicknames given whimsically to them by their re-discoverers in the 19th and 20th centuries. Whether by luck or prescience, the name of this structure fits it surprisingly well — archaeological work here indicates that it was once used by the rulers of Uxmal in its heyday.

Dzibanché’s Eastern Complex

Well, OK — I have a confession to make. I don’t really know what this section of Dzibanché has actually been named. I do know that it’s way out on the eastern end of the site, and has recently been restored.

Eastern complex

Unfortunately, this part of Dzibanché has been restored so recently that it doesn’t yet have interpretive signs, or even show up on maps at the site itself. But it was fun to wander aimlessly through — lots of courtyards and buildings, some still preserving scraps of their original plaster. And few have heard of the place, so should you visit, you’ll likely have it to yourself.