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Archaeological Zone Tulum
Yucatán, México
Postclásico Tardío
8:00 a 18:00


Tulum or Tuluum was a walled city of Mayan Empire located in the state of Quintana Roo, in the southeast of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea coast. It is now a major tourist attraction of the Riviera Maya and beside it is the modern population of the same name, Tulum.

The city received the old name Maya Zama and the present, Tulum, refers to the wall that surrounded it, constituyéndola an important strong for his defense. For the many records on murals and other papers found in buildings in the city, the idea is that Tulum was an important center of worship for the "god descending."


Importance of place

Tulum is one of the sites formerly registered and known to the Western world, because in 1518 the Spanish chronicler Juan Diaz narrated having seen a city as large as Seville "with a tower, which was undoubtedly Castle Tulum, in which that time was still occupied by the inhabitants of that independent leadership.

Sources from the sixteenth century to designate the site under the name Zamá, possibly referring to the Mayan word to describe "morning" or "sunrise", which is understandable because the site is located at the highest portion of the east coast where contemplate the sunrise is a particularly remarkable spectacle.
The name of Tulum, therefore, appears to be relatively recent. Translated into Spanish as a "wall" or "palizada", it is clear allusion to the wall that is preserved here, this name seems to have been used to designate when the city was already in ruins, and it is precisely this name that it is reflected in the nineteenth century, when Stephens and Catherwood as "rediscovering" completely abandoned just before the start of the war caste.

Tulum is the best and most famous example of the East Coast style, a name with which designates the architectural style of buildings constructed on the northern coast of Quintana Roo between 1200 and 1520 after Christ. Its buildings, including El Castillo and the Temple of the Frescoes, noted for their preservation and for the high quality of the murals, which still remain in the interior of both.
As the most widely studied both in the archaeological aspect, as in the etnohistórico, visiting Tulum is essential for understanding the lives and customs of the Mayan posclásicos of Quintana Roo.




It is located 128 kilometers south of Cancun and is easily accessible through federal highway 180, which is now a modern four-lane road on the stretch-Cancun Playa del Carmen, and two lanes wide in the stretch Playa del Carmen-Cancun . Since Cancun, there are many travel agencies that organize tours and local lines of buses offer a regular service between these two points.
Chacchoben map

Principal Structures

When found with the old pre-Hispanic settlement, visitors will be able to see the buildings that eventually formed the core (ceremonial and political) from the city, monumentalmente defined by the wall better known Mayan world. In the environment of that wall, in an area that currently can not be accessed, was a huge number of houses built of wood and palm, which today is not kept virtually no evidence.

The wall surrounds the aforementioned core set by their sides north, south and west as the eastern portion faces the Caribbean Sea. It has five entrances and two observation towers, which realize the degree of control that will eventually be exercised on those who tried to enter the area.

In the central portion of the site are the main buildings, delimited by a second inner wall, most of them had type functions and ceremonial including Castle is the most prominent because of its size, location and unique facade his temple top, with three entrances with ornate columns streamers, supplemented by a deity and two masks zoomorfos descending on the corners. It is worth mentioning that the current image of El Castillo is a product of constructive various stages, the latest of which is represented by two small temples located on both sides of the main staircase. In front of El Castillo is a platform, possibly for dancers, and the other side buildings that complement the arrangement of the whole, and among which was the Temple of the Initial Series, where they found the earliest documented in Tulum.

To the north is the Temple of the Descending God, consists of a small basement on which was built a temple decorated with the image of a god descending main iconographic element of the city.

Faced with a set described above is the main roadway, which is a real street on which were located several residential buildings, the most important of which is the Temple of the Frescoes, which is a building originally consisted of a room surrounded by a portico on three sides. The murals that are stored in its walls portray, as Arthur Miller, a series of supernatural beings living in the Underworld, which for a moment appeared portrayed between darkness and light, and that is one of the most important testimony of pre-Hispanic Mayan mural painting. In addition to the paintings, it should be mentioned that the corners of the building are decorated with masks by elements serpentine possibly join them Kukulcán.

The House of Columns and House Halach Uinik, located in the area of the roadway, are interesting examples of residential architecture of Tulum, while the House Cenote located in the northern sector of the walled set, documenting the importance Mayans would have to worship water, especially when linked to the dark cave and liquidity housing.

The Group Kukulcán, located just north of El Castillo, includes several smaller structures, the most notable being the Temple of the God of Wind, so named by the roundness of his basement. Traditionally linked to Kukulcán as God of the Winds or Ehécatl central Mexico.

Finally, it should be emphasized the importance of the beach area, where they would certainly have docked ships Maya dedicated to trade around the peninsula, and today is the area's most visited archaeological settlement.


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