Sayil

Mayan Archaeology > Yucatan > Yucatan

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One of the most populated areas in the Mayan World

Sayil, or “the place of the leaf-cutter ants” is, along with Uxmal and Kabah, one of the great Puuc cities.

Sayil reached its peak development in the terminal Classic period, near the year 900, when it covered a surface of approximately 5 square kilometers and its population may have reached 17,000 inhabitants, of which half would have lived in surrounding areas.

The city of Sayil was built on a valley of land suitable for agriculture, which gave its rulers power and wealth. It was organized through a great sacbé that ran from north to south and went from the Palace to another building a kilometer away.

The city is formed by main groups of masonry structures united by stone roads, following the north-south axis. Located along the route between one group and other were palm-tree and stick houses, which were inhabited by the common population. Among the residences, there are large areas of fertile terrain, which must have been used for self-consumption cultivations, which is why it is suggested that the Puuc cities were true city-gardens.

One of the most representative buildings is The Palace, with three levels and multiple rooms which the Mayans built over several years. The ruling family lived here, however, it was not only residential, administrative functions were also concentrated here.

Another one of the buildings which can be visited is El Mirador, a staggered temple crowned with a perforated cresting; it is near this building that the city market was found. Two kilometers south of The Palace is the South Palace and the Ball Court.

Hours
Monday through Sunday from 8:00 to 17:00
Rates
42 pesos
How to arrive

Depart from Mérida towards Campeche through the southwest city exit, towards Federal Highway 180 Mérida-Calkini. 10 kilometers ahead take the 261 Hopelchen-Uman Federal Highway and continue south for 80 kilometers to reach Sanakté, where there is a left turn leading towards Sayil, The archaeological zone is 4 kilometers from the turn.

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Map and address

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It is located 112 kilometers south of the city of Mérida.