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    UxmalUxmal Merida, Mexico
    is the huge pre-Columbian ruined city of the Mayan civilization that lived in the state of Yucatan, Mexico and some miles south of Merida. Its name is pre-Columbian as well and believed to have come from an archaic Maya language phrase that means "built three times", but there are those scholars of the Mayan language that disagree. The present names for the majority of the structures found here are Spanish and give no hint as to what the structures were or were used for. Uxmal has many of the most complex and gorgeous examples of the area's Puuc-style architecture, with amazing pyramids and other structures that bring tourists here for many reasons. There has been a lot work to consolidate and rejuvenate the structures themselves, so that more tourists will visit, but there has been little serious work done on archeological excavation or research, which is why the city's dates and population has always been guestimates. What Mayan chronicles that they have uncovered say about Uxmal is that it was founded in 500 AD by Hun Uitzil Chac Tutul Xiu and for many generations ruled by that family, becoming the most powerful site on the western Yucatan peninsula. It is one of the best preserved sights in the nation, thanks to the original builders, who would put the well cut stones into a core of concrete material and not to rely on the old plaster that had been used elsewhere.

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    Hacienda YaxcopoilHacienda Yaxcopoil Merida, Mexico
    Yaxcopoil is a town and hacienda located near Merida, Mexico that dates to the 17th century and means "the place of the green alamo trees" in the Yucatec Maya language, with one of these trees still standing in front of the hacienda. This fabulous house represents three outstanding periods of the Yucatan peninsula that include; the pre-Columbian era with ruins nearby, the Spanish colonial period and the boom years of the henequen cultivation during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It would be bought by Don Donaciano Garcia Rejon and his wife, Dona Monica Galera in 1864 and stayed in the family since that year. Believed to be one of the most significant rural estates in the peninsula, it had spread across 22,000 acres in its heyday and was a cattle ranch and then a henequen plantation. Today, it is less than 3% of its original size, but the hacienda still contains many of the original furnishings and furniture, with two oil paintings showing Don Rejon and his wife, along with documents, maps, books and other relics that form part of the archives.

January 4, 2014