One of the spectacular lodestones and burgeoning in the number of travelers to explore in Mexico is Yucatan. It is one of the Mexican states that is located in the north part of the Yucatan Peninsula. This county offers an amalgamation of nature, art, and architecture. There are plenty of archaeological sites as it was a significant region for the evolution of the Maya Civilization around 500 BC. 

There is also an abundance of the natural underground reservoir known as a cenote, breathtaking beaches, and peculiar lakes. It is a state that offers richness in its traditional art, historical architecture, natural wonders, and cultural food. This article unveils a few relevant places that any enthusiastic architect would be thrilled to visit.

Places to visit in Yucatan for the Travelling Architect
The Location of Yucatan ©Pickatrail.com

1) Cathedral de Merida at Plaza Grande

Place: Historical Site
Location: Merida

Plaza Grande is the most distinct square that lies in the heart of this capital city of Yucatan. The presence of the alluring garden along with the sitting provision rejuvenates its whole surrounding. It is the epicenter of people’s gatherings as there are rows of cafes and shops. This forum gained its recognition after the completion of the Cathedral de Merida in the late 16th Century. 

This cathedral is one of the oldest and most renowned worship places to be constructed on the site of Mayan ruins as it was the first cathedral to be completed on the mainland of America. There are intricate designs on the façade of the cathedral which represents the Spanish royal coat of arms. This historic place is one of the main attractions to visit in Merida. 

Cathedral de Merida at Plaza Grande - Sheet1
Plaza Grande ©fodors.com
Cathedral de Merida at Plaza Grande - Sheet2
Plaza Grande ©theyucatantimes.com
Cathedral de Merida at Plaza Grande - Sheet3
Cathedral de Merida ©googlecontentuser.com

2) Dzibilchaltun 

Place: Archaeological Site
Location: Merida

Dzibilchaltun is the archaeological site of Maya ruins which is situated 14 km from Merida. The meaning of the tongue-twister word ‘Dzibilchaltun’ is a place where there are stone inscriptions. These writings are vaguely visible in today’s time due to erosion. There has been the excavation of around 8400 architectural structures that have astronomical significance. 

The Temple of the seven dolls and the colonial church are the notable features of this site. These are made of stone rubble and are coated with white limestone. There was also the discovery of carved bones and wooden objects that were mainly composed of vases. The architects would deepen their knowledge by visiting this historic site affluent of art and architecture in Yucatan.

Dzibilchaltun - Sheet1
The Temple of Seven Dolls ©christravelblog.com
Dzibilchaltun - Sheet2
The White Road or Scab connecting the Temple with the other Ruins ©christravelblog.com
Dzibilchaltun - Sheet3
The Colonial Church ©christravelblog.com

3) Mayan World Museum of Merida

Place: Historical Museum
Location: Merida

The museum is also known as El Gran Museo del Mundo Maya and is located 12 km away from the city center. It has entirely been devoted to the historical, cultural, and natural habitat of the Maya civilization. The design philosophy behind the architecture of the main structure is to portrait the ceiba tree as it was considered the sacred tree during the Mayan world. 

There is also the representation of the three elements from the Mayan world which are the sky, the earth, and the underground. There have been showcases of enduring artifacts from the archaeological site of Chichen Itza.  One could also witness the light and sound show that is performed during the nights on the free-standing wall. These are the few features to be observed by the visitors in the Yucatan region.

Mayan World Museum of Merida - Sheet1
Mayan World Museum of Merida © arquired.com
Mayan World Museum of Merida - Sheet2
Mayan World Museum of Merida © zonaturistica.com
Mayan World Museum of Merida - Sheet
Mayan World Museum of Merida © zonaturistica.com

4) Paseo de Montejo

Place: Historical Monument
Location: Merida

Paseo de Montejo is a prominent historical monument of Merida located about 2.5 km away from the Plaza Grande. This remarkable memorial has been named after Francisco de Montejo. He was the Spanish conquistador who discovered the city in 1542. This iconic remembrance was sculpted by Romulo Rozo in the late 19th Century. 

The avenue of this iconic remembrance has a great influence from the French boulevard. There are wide roads planted with trees in its sidewalks and have innumerable roundabouts. There are magnificent mansions which are the headquarters of the national and the international banks and other companies. It continues to sustain the heritage of the city. It is one of the architectural wonders in Yucatan for those people who are architects.

Paseo de Montejo - Sheet1
Paseo de Montejo ©shutterstock.com
Paseo de Montejo - Sheet2
Paseo de Montejo © wikimedia.com
Paseo de Montejo - Sheet3
Paseo de Montejo © shutterstock.com

5) El Castillo & El Caracol

Place: Archaeological Site
Location: Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza is one of the evident archaeological sites of the Maya civilization in the Mexican state of Yucatan. It was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. This place is believed to be a commercial, religious, and military center during the classical period that is around 550 AD. El Castillo means castle in the Spanish and was also known as the Temple of Kukulcán. 

This is a Mesoamerican stepped pyramid is the most dominating monumental structure of the site. There are approximately 91 steps that lead to the square-shaped terrace at the pinnacle of this pyramid. El Caracol or the snail is the observatory building to witness the celestial bodies in the sky. It is a peculiar structure erected around 906 AD. It is one of the striking features of the site as it is aligned to El Castillo. 

El Castillo & El Caracol - Sheet1
El Castillo © britannica.com
El Castillo & El Caracol - Sheet2
El Caracol © britannica.com
El Castillo & El Caracol - Sheet3
El Caracol and El Castillo © sciencesource.com

6) The Temple of the Warriors & the Venus Platform

Place: Archaeological Site
Location: Chichen Itza

The additional significant archaeological structures in the site are the Temple of the Warriors or the ‘Temple of Thousand Columns’ and the Venus platform. The temple of the warriors is a stepped pyramid having thousands of columns at the exterior base. These columns have the carvings of the armed men depicting the lives of the warriors. It is thought to be constructed in around 1000 B.C. and completed in 320 A.D. 

There are two different structures known as the Venus platform. These were the podiums to perform ritual rites and ceremonial functions. These Mayan monuments in the Yucatan region with numerous ancient facts need to be explored more by the visitors. 

The Temple of the Warriors & the Venus Platform - Sheet1
The Temple of the Warriors ©gstatic.com
The Temple of the Warriors & the Venus Platform - Sheet2
The Thousands Columns ©gstatic.com
The Temple of the Warriors & the Venus Platform - Sheet3
Venus Platform ©gstatic.com

7) Balankanche Cave

Place: Maya Cave Site
Location: Chichen Itza

Balankanche cave was discovered during the pre-classical period and was the most prominent cave of the Maya civilization. The word ‘Balankanche’ means the cave of the sacred throne of the jaguar. Here, the Mayan commander was referred to as the jaguar. It was believed to be a spiritual and devotional place as it offered water to the Mayan people. 

There is the formation of stalactites and stalagmites deep inside the cave. This has been crystallized in the form of a giant tree and under it, there was the performance of the sacred rituals.  This existing place is a great venture for adventurous visitors to Yucatan. One would observe the natural cave with its pronounced history and one could also swim in the water body present at the end of the cave. 

Balankanche Cave - Sheet1
The Giant Tree in Balankanche Cave © latinamericanstudies.org
Balankanche Cave - Sheet2
Balankanche Cave © wp.com
Balankanche Cave - Sheet3
The Natural Water Body in Balankanche Cave © mexicanroutes.com

8) Sacred Cenote and Ik Kil Cenote

Place: Natural Underground Reservoirs
Location: Chichen Itza

The natural underground reservoirs emerged due to the permeation of water in the underground of the limestone plain. The Sacred Cenote of Chichen Itza was considered to be a religious site for both the people from Maya civilization and the Spanish post-conquest. It is believed that people used to sacrifice their valuables and children to satisfy the God of rain. These are open to the sky, prodigious and immensely deep. 

Ik Kil cenote is a part of the Ik Kil Archaeological Park where the public is allowed to swim. The size of its diameter is around 60 meters and the depth is 48 meters. There is a provision of a carved stairway that guides down to the swimming platform. The travelers experience the salubrious surroundings in the Yucatan peninsula. 

Sacred Cenote and Ik Kil Cenote - Sheet1
Ik Kil Cenote © descubrecalakmul.mx.com
Sacred Cenote and Ik Kil Cenote - Sheet2
Sacred Cenote © gstatic.com
Sacred Cenote and Ik Kil Cenote - Sheet3
Sacred Cenote ©gstatic.com

9) Archaeological Zone of Uxmal

Place: Archaeological Site
Location: Uxmal

This Mayan site was established around 700 AD with about 20,000 inhabitants. The Pyramid of the Magician or the Pyramid of the Soothsayer is the most eminent monument of this archaeological site. The nunnery and the governor’s palace are additional impressive Mayan structures of the site. These buildings are connected among themselves by sacbes or the white way as it is made of white limestone. 

The Mayan art and architecture were considered to be the most significant for the ritual ceremonies. This has been portrayed by chiseling the pyramid wall with symbolic motifs and sculptures of the Rain God. This place earned its recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996 and is one of the most visited Mayan sites in the Yucatan peninsula. 

Archaeological Zone of Uxmal - Sheet1
Archaeological Site of Uxmal ©britannica.com
Archaeological Zone of Uxmal - Sheet2
Governor’s Palace ©latinamericanstudies.org
Archaeological Zone of Uxmal - Sheet3
The Pyramid of the Magician ©dutchbudha.com

10) Choco-Story

Place: Chocolate Museum
Location: Uxmal

This chocolate museum narrates the history and the vital role of chocolate in the Maya civilization. Cacao was considered to be a pious food and was offered to the Mayan God of Rain, Chac. This place shows the deep connection of the Mayan culture and history with the cacao. 

The visitors explore the historic chocolate-making with the use of various tools and equipment. They also rejuvenate themselves in the serine and sublime surrounding flora and fauna. It is an inescapable place for all chocolate lovers. 

Choco-Story - Sheet1
Choco-Story ©meridaelite.com
Choco-Story - Sheet2
Choco-Story ©dreamstime.com
Choco-Story - Sheet3
Choco-Story ©ttnotes.com

11) Progreso

Place: Mexican Port City
Location: North of Merida

Progreso has a port on the Gulf of Mexico and is located in the Yucatan, the northern Mexican state. The port operates goods carrying containers on ships along with the cruises and ferries carrying international passengers. 

The world’s longest pier and the Progreso- Merida linking bridge are the two most eminent architectural and technological structures in the city. There are breathtaking sights of the pleasant beaches with white sand and clear water. It is a vital travel destination because of its distinct elements. 

Progreso -Sheet1
Progreso-Merida Linking Bridge © squarespace-cdn.com
Progreso -Sheet2
The Longest Pier in the World © googleusercontent.com
Progreso -Sheet3
Progreso Beach © britannica.com

12) Reserva Ecológica El Corchito & Ría Celestún Biosphere Reserve

Place: Bio Reserves
Location: Progreso, North of Merida and Celestún, West of Merida

The Yucatan peninsula is blessed with an innumerous cenote and pristine wetlands. The ecological reserve in Progreso has three types of cenote where the travelers can relax and relish the lush green ambiance. Cenote Helechos has a shallow depth and is ideal for children. The other two cenotes are Cenote Venado or the Deer Cenote and Cenote Pajaros or the Bird Cenote. These are deep and are convenient to swim. 

The biosphere reserve in Celestún has acquired its popularity after being acknowledged as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. It is situated in the biggest groundwater basin in the region. It is renowned for the pink flamingos, immaculate beaches, and turquoise to light blue colored water. 

Reserva Ecológica El Corchito & Ría Celestún Biosphere Reserve - Sheet1
Reserva Ecológica El Corchito ©yucatantoday.com
Reserva Ecológica El Corchito & Ría Celestún Biosphere Reserve - Sheet2
Reserva Ecológica El Corchito ©yucatantoday.com
Reserva Ecológica El Corchito & Ría Celestún Biosphere Reserve - Sheet3
Ria Celestún Biosphere Reserve ©meridaelite.com

13) Archaeological Zone of Sayil

Place: Archeological Site
Location: South of Uxmal 

The archaeological site is located in the karst limestone hill of the northern Yucatan peninsula. It was established during the end of the classical period and most of the monumental structures of the site are in ruin-state. The Great Palace is the most eminent monument of the site as its facade spans 85 meters. It is an impressive three stories high and partially damaged historical building. 

El Mirador and the Mirador complex are also prominent structures of Sayil. This place earned the recognition of the UNESCO World Heritage Site along with Uxmal in 1996. Thereafter it became one of the popular tourist destinations of the region.  

Archaeological Zone of Sayil - Sheet1
Archeological Zone of Sayil © allmexico365.com
Archaeological Zone of Sayil - Sheet2
Archeological Zone of Sayil © en-yucatan.com
Archaeological Zone of Sayil - Sheet3
Archeological Zone of Sayil © wordpress.com

14) Laguna Rosada, Telchac Puerto

Place: Man-made Lagoon
Location: Telchac Puerto 

The stunning lagoon is situated in the fishing village of Telchac Puerto. It is over an hour drive from the capital city. The lagoon has fantabulous scenic beauty due to its pink color. The formation of algae increases as the rate of evaporation is accelerated in this man-made lagoon. As a result, the water turns deep pink in color. 

The place is picturesque with the pink flamingos, and the archaeological ruins of Xcambo are observed from its bank. Therefore, it is an ideal place for a day trip from Merida or Progreso. 

Laguna Rosada, Telchac Puerto - Sheet1
Laguna Rosada © porconocer.com
Laguna Rosada, Telchac Puerto - Sheet2
Laguna Rosada © googleusercontent.com
Laguna Rosada, Telchac Puerto - Sheet3
Laguna Rosada © tripadvisor.com

15) Casa de Los Venados, Valladolid 

Place: Mexican Art Museum
Location: Valladolid 

Casa de Los Venados means the House of the Deer. This art museum is a private home of a couple named John and Dorianne Venator. It is an asset for national cultural tourism as it has the largest collection of Mexican folk art. The museum is set in a traditional colonial home with a large patio at the center. 

It is a great experience for the architects who explore the local art and culture in the beautiful setting of colonial architecture in the Mexican state of Yucatan.  

Casa de Los Venados, Valladolid  - Sheet1
Casa de Los Venados © tripadvisor.com
Casa de Los Venados, Valladolid  - Sheet2
Casa de Los Venados © travel-assets.com
Casa de Los Venados, Valladolid  - Sheet3
Casa de Los Venados © grandresidencesbyroyalresorts.com

The place is diversified with historical architectural monuments, cenote, ecological reserve, peculiar lagoons, and museums with unique concepts. There are Mayan archaeological sites located in Chichen Itza, Uxmal, Sayil, and Kabah. These have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One can witness the modern construction technologies in the prominent port city. The pristine wonders such as Balankanche cave, the sacred cenote, and biospheres reserve provides a sublime ambiance for the visitors. The chocolate museum and the Mexican folk art museums play a vital role in portraying historical and cultural facts.  This is a place that will never disappoint any travelers in the Mexican state of Yucatan. 

References

01) Online Source: Yucatán – Wikipedia

02) Online Source: The 5 Best Main Square (Plaza Grande) Tours & Tickets 2021 – Merida | Viator

03) Online Source: Cathedral of Mérida, Yucatán – Wikipedia

04) Online Source: Dzibilchaltun – Wikipedia

05) Online Source: The Best Dzibilchaltun Tours & Tickets 2021 – Merida | Viator

06) Online Source: The Great Museum of the Mayan World – Merida | Loco Gringo

07) Online Source: Gran Museo del Mundo Maya | Mérida, Mexico Attractions – Lonely Planet

08) Online Source: Grand Maya World Museum | HistoricalMX

09) Online Source: Paseo de Montejo – Wikipedia

10) Online Source: What to see, do, and eat along Merida’s Paseo de Montejo (urbanadventures.com)

11) Online Source: Chichen Itza | Description, Buildings, History, & Facts | Britannica

12) Online Source: El Castillo, Chichen Itza – Wikipedia

13) Online Source: El Caracol, Chichen Itza – Wikipedia

14) Online Source: Chichen Itza’s Amazing Temple of the Warriors – Cancun to Chichen Itza

15) Online Source: Platform of Venus – Chichen Itza

16) Online Source: Balankanche – Wikipedia

17) Online Source: Balankanche Cave (Chichen Itza) – 2020 What to Know Before You Go (with Photos) – Tripadvisor

18) Online Source: Sacred Cenote – Wikipedia

19) Online Source: Ik Kil – Wikipedia

20) Online Source: The Chichén Itzá series (2) – The Sacred Cenote – The Yucatan Times

21) Online Source: Uxmal – Wikipedia

22) Online Source: Pre-Hispanic Town of Uxmal – UNESCO World Heritage Centre

23) Online Source: Choco-Story Museum at Uxmal – Chocolatour with Doreen Pendgracs | Chocolate Adventurist and Wizard of Words

24) Online Source: Progreso | Mexico | Britannica

25) Online Source: El Corchito Cenotes Natural Reserve & Beach Break Excursion 2021 – Merida (viator.com)

26) Online Source: Ria Celestún Biosphere Reserve, Mexico (unesco.org)

28) Online Source: Sayil – Wikipedia

29) Online Source: Flamingos flying over the Laguna Rosada Yucatan Mexico (tillthemoneyrunsout.com)

30) Online Source: Casa de los Venados │ Oficial Site

 

Author

An architect and interior designer by profession. A passionate traveller who developed inquisitiveness on expanding her knowledge and gathering information on different styles of designs and architecture around the world. She strongly believes that nature and history plays a key role in the field of architecture.

Write A Comment