Saturday, 8 December 2018

Mexico: Kabah


We went on the Kabah from our wonderful visit to Uxmal. It is a much smaller and very quiet site some miles to the south. A straight road once linked the two. Kabah was inhabited from the mid 3rd century BC. Most of the architecture now visible was built between the 7th century and 11th centuries AD.

Directly in front across a grassy are is The Palace, with a series of separate doorways. These are characteristic of the Puuc style which predominated in the southern part of Yucutan.

Over to the right is the substantial Palace of the Masks, seen below from the rear.

We walked round to the rear to see two splendid carved figures, known technically as atlantes (plural of atlas, a carved male figure used as a supporting column). There were once more (I think, eight) and they are rather unusual on Mayan buildings

On the corner are the first of innumerable masks of Chaac, the rain god. The intact beak at the top is quite unusual - most are broken off.

This is the main facade has around 300 masks of Chaac. Why? Chaac's importance seems to stem from the importance of rain to provide water to drink. Mayan cities are normally located close to a Cenotes (usually translated as a sinkhole), exposed pools of ground water revealed by the collapse of limestone bedrock. Some however, including Kabah and Uxmal, depended on cisterns to cathc rainwater.

There were also a few nice nature sightings: this large iguana on the very top of the Palace of Masks ...

... this Little Yellow (Eurema lisa) ...

... and later, when we stopped for lunch, this beautiful Zebra Heleconian (Heliconius charithonia) ...

... and Orange-barred Sulphur (Phoebius philea)

Conditions: hot and humid.

Rating: four stars.

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