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.

Pyramid of the Magician

The first thing you see once you’re in the gate at the Maya ruins of Uxmal, Mexico:

Pyramid of the Magician, Uxmal

It’s an impressive structure — although a bit odd for photography. You get a better overall vista from the east side, but the architectural details are better on the west side.

Some years back, you could climb the stairs and either go all the way to the top, or pass through the tunnel partway up (giving you access to older temples now buried in the body of the pyramid). But sadly you can’t climb this structure any more — at least you can get good shots of most of it from the ground. This is actually stitched from two wide-angle shots, with colors tuned up a bit in Topaz Adjust.

The Great Pyramid, Uxmal

Definitely one of the steeper pyramids we saw on our 2011 trip, in the Terminal Classic Puuc site of Uxmal:

The Great Pyramid, Uxmal

As you might be able to tell, kids had no problems with these steps — the bigger ones were racing each other to the top! Regular adults have to do the usual angle-walk up the steps.

You might also notice that this is the only one of the pyramid’s four faces that has been restored. Aside from saving money up front (restoration isn’t cheap), this saves money over the long run too — since once you restore something, you have to maintain it. Restoration also (in a way) destroys — since you can never be 100% sure you’re restoring something exactly the way it once was. So 3/4 of this structure is being saved for future generations of researchers to study and (maybe) restore at a later date.

Turtles all the way down

I haven’t antiqued any photos for months (if not years), so while I was playing around with black and white conversions I thought I should indulge myself and give a shot from Uxmal the full aging treatment:

Turtles all the way down

This is the House of Turtles, so named because of the little turtle figurines decorating the top of the walls.

Pyramid of the Magician

The “marquis” structure at the Maya ruins of Uxmal in México:

Pyramid of the Magician

Sadly, you can no longer climb this pyramid’s steps — they were showing the toll of thousands of tourists’ feet over the years. At least visitors can still admire this beautiful structure from a not-too-great distance.