Maya Sites: Puuc Route

Puuc (forested hills) Route, is a highway that leads from Oxkutzcab to Kabah, for about 41 km, connecting the interesting and less-restored Maya archaeological sites Labna, Xlapak, Sayil and Kabah.

Puuc (forested hills) Route, is a highway that leads from Oxkutzcab to Kabah, for about 41 km, connecting the interesting and less-restored Maya archaeological sites Labna, Xlapak, Sayil and Kabah.

Most of the structures of these sites are dated back to 800 to 1000 a.D., and represent a variant of post-classic Maya culture (Puuc style). It is generally accepted that larger sites such as Kabah and Sayil might have been inhabited before, but no detailed investigation to clear this subject has been made so far.

The ancient Maya habitants lived from agriculture mainly, as witnessed by abundant chultunes (cisterns) which may have been used to capture and/or store rain water.

Labna: This site might have had a population of about 1200 to 2400 people, dedicated to intensive agricultural activities.

The buildings contain rich geometrical and symbolic ornaments and, like the famous arch of Labna, they display variants of masks presenting the rain good Chaac.

Xlapak: 4 km away from Labna, you will find the less-restored site of Xlapak, which consists of 14 structures in its decayed form, 3 pyramids under restoration and the dominant palace with rich frieze decoration of Chaac masks and geometrical ornaments dated to late classic period.

Sayil: This larger site was home for up to 10000 habitants, living in small stone houses, which is unusual for Maya society as in other cities only the aristocracy lived in concrete buildings.

Sayil consists of three zones: The central place with a beautiful three-story building, decorated with Chaac masks, sculptures of Kukulcan (feathered serpent) and "Mucen Cab” the bee deity. Around the central place, there are hundreds of decayed stone houses. At some distance, about 1-2 km, there are satellite-like agglomerations.

Kabah (Strong Hand): The Puuc route finishes at Kabah, the largest of the Puuc route sites and worth visiting, due to abundant number of different structures and the special importance of the main building, the Palace of the Masks. This building is ornamented with over 250 masks of Chac Mool, testimonial of the importance of this deity in the beliefs of ancient inhabitants.