Uxmal, a Mayan town in Yucatan, as established around the year 700 AD, and was home to around twenty-five thousand inhabitants. The buildings of the town date back to between the year 700 AD and the year 1000 AD, and their layout suggests quite a bit of astronomy knowledge. The town’s Pyramid of the Soothsayer, the name given to it by the Spaniards, is the dominating building of the ceremonial center. There are well-designed buildings in the ceremonial center that are decorated with sculptures depicting the god of rain, Chaac, and symbolic motifs. The ceremonial sites of Sayil, Labna, Kabah, and Uxmal are considered to be the high points of architecture and art of the Mayans.
The ceremonial structures of the Mayan ruins at Uxmal are representative of the pinnacle of late Mayan architecture and art in their ornamentation, layout, and design. The Uxmal complex, as well as the three towns related to it of Sayil, Labna, and Kabah, demonstrates the economic and social structure of the society of the late Maya civilization. The Uxmal archaeological site can be found around sixty kilometers to the south from Merida in Mexico. This site forms the center of the Puuc region that spans across approximately 7,500 square kilometers in the southwestern area of the Yucatan state. The region around the town of Tulum acted as a center for the exchange of ideas and trade, and possibly people as well, with the other areas of Mexico.
According to The Book of Chilam Balam, which is the Maya history from the sixteenth century, the foundation of the Uxmal site dates back to later in history to the tenth century. Radiocarbon dating and archaeological investigations reveal that the Uxmal complex’s main structures were most likely constructed between the eighth century and the tenth century, including hydraulic works like reservoirs used to store rainwater.
During that time period, the town of Uxmal grew from a mere peasant town into a center for administration and politics with nearly twenty thousand inhabitants. The fact that a town wall existed suggests a conflict situation, which was possibly a result of the strengthening of urban centers in the region that eventually challenged the control Uxmal had over the region. The people of Uxmal abandoned the town after the tenth century. Afterwards, the town became simply a pilgrimage destination until the Spanish conquered the area.
Unlike how many other prehispanic towns are laid out, the layout of Uxmal is not geometric. The town is laid out in relation to astronomy, such as the astronomical phenomena of the rising and setting of the planet Venus. It also adapted to the site’s topography, which is made up of a number of hills. The main significant feature of the Puuc architecture is the separation of the building facades into two separate horizontal elements. The lower horizontal element is simple and made up of carefully dressed blocks that are broken up only by doorways. The upper element, however, is rich decorated and features symbolic motifs, with individual blocks making up a type of mosaic.