A trip to the Yucatan Peninsula is not complete without a visit to one of the many Mayan ruins that dot this tropical landscape. From north to south and east to west the Mayan culture dominated this region for hundreds of years, from as far back as B.C. to the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in the 1500’s.
A great starting point for exploring ancient Mayan history is the colonial city of Merida, the capital of the State of Yucatan, located to the west of the Peninsula and only a 4 hour-long drive west from Cancun. Here the choices are endless with many ruin sites excavated, restored and open for public viewing.
One such important and superbly photogenic site is Kabah (Mayan for “strong“ or “powerful hand“). Here are some interesting facts about this ancient city:
1. originally built around 300 B.C.
2. most visible architecture built between 700 and 1100 A.D.
3. connected to the ancient city of Uxmal by a “sacbe“ (Mayan ceremonial causeway)
4. most famous structure is the “Palace of the Masks”, the facade decorated with hundreds of stone masks of the long-nosed rain god Chaac
5. the emphasis placed on Chaac stemmed from the scarcity of water in the region, as there are no “cenotes” (natural wells that access the fresh water aquifers below) in this dryer, northern part of the Yucatan Peninsula