A spectacular walled city by the edge of the sea
All the information you can’t miss about the land
It is located 128 kilometers south of Cancún, on Federal Highway 307 Cancún-Chetumal, in the municipality of Tulum, Quintana Roo
Monday through Sunday from 8:00 to 17:00
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The Wind Temple in Tulum is usually empty by mid-afternoon. With the beach under the cliff, the sea straight ahead, and The Castle to its right, travelers forget that there are also other tourists around, and they begin to blend in with the landscape. Travelers feel under the illusion that they are the only person on the site.
The city once had the Mayan name Zamá, which means “dawn”. The current name, Tulum, means “wall” or “enclosure”, and has only recently been used, when the city was found in ruins. The ancient name refers to its position on the east coast and the west-east alignment of its buildings, which is supported by the remains of buildings dedicated to astronomical observations.
Although inscriptions dating back to the 6th Century have been found, most of the buildings were constructed around the year 1200, when Tulum reached its golden age. During this period, the inhabitants’ trading activities extended to distant places, as demonstrated by the finding of Silex objects and ceramic pottery from all over the Yucatán peninsula, obsidian and jade from Guatemala, and rattles and copper rings from the highlands.
Tulum is the best and most well-known example of the eastern coast style, which is the name given to the architectural type of Mayan buildings constructed on the north coast of Quintana Roo between 1200 and 1520 A.D. Located at the highest elevation in the region, and due to its defensive system, this site was an unavoidable settlement for any commercial route and the exploitation of maritime resources on the coast of Quintana Roo.
The archaeological zone of Tulum, probably the most famous in the Riviera Maya, is located within the Tulum National Park, created on April 23rd, 1981. It has a mangrove ecosystem, consisting mostly of red mangrove.
Tulum is one of the few Mayan settlements that was inhabited when the Spaniards arrived in 1518 under the command of Juan de Grijalva, but it was only for a brief period, as there were no residents left by the end of the 16th Century.
The Ceremonial Enclosure is surrounded by a 5 meter thick perimeter wall and five narrow doors that close the three access flanks. Inside, behind the House of Chultún, is the House of the Columns or the Great Palace, located face-to-face with the House of Halach Uinic or Great Lord, its interiors preserve a great variety of carvings and paintings.
Next to it, the Temple of the Frescos, some of which have Mixteca influence, was used as an observatory to follow the sun’s movements. The inner walls are decorated with paintings of a great number of mythological serpents. A ceremonial platform provides access to the most famous building in the enclosure, also the biggest and most outstanding construction in Tulum, called The Castle which, aside from its ceremonial functions, was also used as a beacon, allowing Mayan sailors to avoid the dangers of the world’s second longest coral reef.
The ships sailed the open sea alongside the coral reef and, when they saw the lights coming from “The Castle”, they knew when it was time to take the canal that divided the reef. Inside the tower there are two large windows of the façade which were illuminated with natural light during the day and by torches at the night. The building has a wide outer stairway that first leads to a temple of the late Postclassic period, called Temple of the Initial Series, which is crowned with another temple characterized by three niches over its front and an extraordinary sculpture under its central niche. On the front of the Temple of the Descending God there is a similar carving, representing a falling or knocked down figure, which is usually associated to the setting sun. This figure appears repeatedly along various friezes, sometimes with its legs bent, as if it were about to dive.
Across the beautiful Caribbean beach, standing against the almighty blue coloring of the sea, there a temple is located high on the cliff dedicated to the Wind, which completes the most important buildings in Tulum. Behind it, a road or sacbé leads to the Cenote which supplied drinking water to the city, and to the logically named House of the Cenote.
Wear comfortable footwear, preferably sporty, which allows you to easily walk and access the different areas of the archaeological site.
Prior to arrival, check the weather conditions and choose the best time by clicking here clicking here.
Remember the importance of respecting and keeping the space you are visiting clean.
How to arrive
It is located 128 km south of Cancún, on Federal Highway 307 Cancún-Chetumal, in the municipality o...
It is located 128 km south of Cancún, on Federal Highway 307 Cancún-Chetumal, in the municipality of Tulum, Quintana Roo
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