As you enter the Zona Arqueologicia, the highest building in the region, El Adivino, The Pyramid of the Magician, (38 m, 125 ft.) stands before you. The legend states that it was built in a single night by a dwarf, aided by his mother, a witch. Archaeological excavations reveal that the pyramid (really temple) is actually five superimposed structures that were built and rebuilt over a period of three centuries.
The base of the structure is a rectangle with highly rounded corners. It is usually described as elliptical, but the sides up which the stairways rise are straight. The staircase on the western side is much steeper than the eastern staircase. The western staircase is flanked by stylized Chac masks. Uxmal differs from the other archaeological sites in the region, having no natural wells (cenotes). Instead deep holes lined with material impervious to water are used to store rain water they have collected. The importance of Chac to this site is obvious.
The oldest structure, Temple I, is exposed on the west side of the structure, at its base. This section dates from approximately the 6th century AD, deduced from a date inscribed on the door lintel. The facade of this structure is heavily decorated with masks of the rain god, Chac. The rest of this structure is covered by the subsequent construction, the rooms being filled with rubble first. The passageway that led to this structure was closed off after the drenching rains of Hurricane Gilbert in 1988 in order to assure the preservation of the building.
Temple II can be entered through an opening in the upper part of the east staircase. This temple is only partially excavated. Its central chamber is supported by columns and it has a roof comb that is visible through a trench in the floor of Temple V above. Temple III is built onto the rear of Temple II and is not visible from the outside. It consists of a small central shrine and an antechamber.
Temple IV is entered from the west side through the open jaws of a stylized mask. The facade of this structure is entirely covered with Chac masks and lattice ornamentation.
It is Temple V which is known as The House of the Magician or Soothsayer. This is the final building phase of this structure and can be reached by either staircase. This structure sits on the top of the pyramid and appears to be a smaller copy of the Governor's Palace. It dates from the 9th century. This structure has three rooms and also exhibits lattice ornamentation.
Return to Day 2
Return to the Table of Contents
© 1995 Karen M. Strom