The Great City


Puuc architecture is named for the hilly Puuc region of northwestern Yucatán where this style attained its ultimate refinment. Puuc buildings have rubble-filled concrete walls faced by a thin veneer of dressed stone. The exterior walls have plain lower facades supporting upper facades decorated with long-nosed Chac masks and geometric designs. Constructed of individually carved pieces fitted together to form a design, Puuc sculpture resembles a mosaic. In Chichén Itzá the older, purely Maya buildings are in the Puuc style.


(aboveleft) The Nunnery Annex (11).
(above middle) Chac mask adorning the corner of a building.
(above right) The Casa Colorada (9).

Toltec-Maya architecture combines Puuc construction methods with designs of Toltec or Central Mexican origin. Toltec elements at Chichén Itzá include stepped-pyramid temples, long colonnades, atlantean figures used as structural supports, low detached platforms faced with carved panels, and doorways formed by twin descending feathered serpent columns.


(above left) Overview of Great Ball Court (2) and Castillo (8).
(above middle) The Castillo (8).
(above right) Shrine at the edge of the Sacred Cenote (1).


(above left) View of Upper (3) and Lower (4) Temple of the Jaquar and the Great Ball Court (2).
(above middle) The Upper Temple of the Jaquars (3).
(above right) Serpent head on the Platform of the Tigers and Eagles(5).


(above left) Aerial view of Temple of the Warriors (7).
(above middle) Serpent head from column - Temple of the Warriors (7).
(above right)The Platform of the Tigers and Eagles (5).


(above left) Glyph from the Venus Platform (6).
(above middle) Graphic illustration of glyph from the Venus Platform (6).
(above right) Relief carvings of water lily motif from the Venus Platform (6).


(above left) The Caracol (10).
(above right) Interior view of a building showing a corbel arch.

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