Mayan Archaeology > Yucatan > Yucatan

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Tras Uxmal, the largest religious center in the Puuc region

Description The name “Kabah” probably comes from ancient Mayan, meaning “strong hand”.

Kabah is an archaeological zone located in the Puuc region, in the Yucatán peninsula and it is important because the city’s name is mentioned in the Chumayel’s book of Chilam Balam. It is commonly believed that the sites in the Puuc region were occupied between 600 and 900 A.D., but it is undeniable that sites such as Kabah go back to at least the early Classic period.

The site was connected to Uxmal by an 18 kilometer long and 5 meter wide elevated pedestrian road (sacbé) with arches on both ends.

The zone occupies an area of 1.2 square kilometers and it is believed that the surrounding mounds are structures that have not yet been excavated. Mayan architects raised the large platforms on the hills, on which they organized the open spaces and buildings. Steps had a vital role in the city’s planning, as the Mayans obtained access to public or private spaces through them.

The city is arranged around a north to south axis. The buildings are connected by road. Buildings are grouped in two sections, one to the east and another to the west of the main north-south axis.

The main focus of the western courtyard is the Codz Pop Building, “rolled up matting”. The most outstanding trait of this building are the figureheads of Chaac, which completely cover its facades, while the eastern front is decorated with lattice windows and anthropomorphic sculptures which represent king Kabah. In front of Codz Poop is an altar with hieroglyphics relating the city to Uxmal. West of the site is an arch, which marks the entrance to the site for people coming from Uxmal.

The Palace is a group of about 12 structures, including altars, low platforms, and units with 32 and 36 rooms, in two levels.

The Palace and Codz Poop are so complex that they confirm the theory that Kabah was a city comparable to Uxmal. The archaeological region of which Kabah is part of, includes the sites of Uxmal, Labná, Sayil, and Xlapak, and was declared as World Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO under the name “Pre-Columbian Village of Uxmal”, on December 7th, 1996.

Monday through Sunday from 10:00 to 17:00
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How to arrive

From Mérida, take highway 261, located near Uxmal and Labná. The best way to get there is following the Puuc route by car, it is well signposted.


Map and address

It is located 100 kilometers south of the city of Mérida.