In a way, Uxmal has always been in the shadow of Chichen Itza. Just like way back when they were allies, but also rivals, more recently they’ve had to compete for travelers’ attention; in great part because of their respective location, and despite its breathtaking architecture, Uxmal always came in second. That’s why no one was surprised that, while Chichén Itzá premiered a brand new video mapping show in 2016, Uxmal had continued using the same light and sound show that Queen Elizabeth II saw in 1975.
Uxmal, however, is so much more than just the jewel of the Puuc. It’s a gem, period. Its exquisite architecture, the unique oval base of the Pirámide del Adivino and the spectacular views from the Palacio del Gobernador and the Gran Pirámide are just the part of it that we can see. Behind it, there’s the careful reconditioning work led by archeologist José Huchín Herrera. A proud Maya, the Site Director has supervised its restoration through building techniques that have been passed down generation to generation among the Maya people in the region, who have largely been in charge of carrying it out.
The new video mapping show “Ecos de Uxmal” finally does justice to this archaeological site. First of all, as of now and due to the pandemic, Uxmal is the only one that can be visited at night. In addition, “Ecos de Uxmal” incorporates several different structures, making it the only multiple-location video mapping show in the state, now that “Senderos de Luz,” in Izamal, is suspended. The tour begins, of course, at the Pirámide del Adivino, which takes on not only a new life as you see it brightly lit under a sky full of stars but a completely different dimension by way of the vibrant images projected onto it, which set the stage for the journey that’s about to begin.
The text cleverly blends architecture, history and legend; it includes a glance at the Maya worldview, illustrated through a magnificent Ceiba tree, and highlights a building that tends to go unnoticed (the Templo de las Columnas) to go over the way of life of the city’s ancient inhabitants; the stop at the Juego de Pelota covers not only the rules of the ritual, but the different contexts in which it was carried out.
The bulk of the experience, however, takes place within the Cuadrángulo de las Monjas. It’s spectacular from the moment you step inside, finding yourself lit by “torches” that create the perfect atmosphere to watch and listen to the legend of the Enano de Uxmal. The projection astounds because of its ability to use the building walls as both a blank canvas and a three-dimensional space that breathes life into the story as it makes us part of it. It is so monumental that the best way to enjoy it in its entirety is to be as far away from it as possible: the closer to the north building, the better.
The high praise received by both its contents and presentation make “Ecos de Uxmal” a great excuse to discover (and rediscover) the beauty of the jewel of the Puuc. Those who have never been there will surely be amazed. Those who have will be in love. Those of us who already hold it in a special place in our hearts will be excited that it’s once again being given the attention it deserves. Whichever category you’re in, you won’t regret experiencing it.
If you’d like to pair it with a daytime visit to the archaeological site, you can make time by having drinks and snacks (or dinner, if you feel like it) at either The Lodge At Uxmal or the Hacienda Uxmal hotel. We suggest wearing comfortable shoes; bring insect repellent and a fully charged phone to light your way in the dark. Flash photography is not allowed at any time during the tour. For “Ecos de Uxmal” showtimes and programming, visit CULTUR Yucatán:
FB: Cultur Yucatán / Vive Yucatán
IG: @culturpatronato / @vive.yuc
By Alicia Navarrete
Communicologist born circumstantially in Mexico City, but who says “uay” since 1985. Life has allowed me to see the world, which in turn has allowed me to discover how much I love the place where I live.
Photography by CULTUR for its use in Yucatán Today.
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