Tulum Ruins. Three of the buildings (often called pyramids) in Tulum Archaeological Site.
Tulum, originally called Zamá, was an important crossroad of commerce trade in both land and sea. Nowadays, is a beach paradise located in Mexico, 2h from Cancun. It has the only beachfront Mayan ruins in the whole State of Quintana Roo. Tulum Ruins consist of several buildings (often called “pyramids” or “temples”), and each one had its specific purpose.
The settlement may have originated during the classic period, between the years 400 to 600. Evidence suggests that the earliest occupation could have been on year 300 BCE.
The engravings and paintings that have been found explain that it was a place of worship.
Ruins of El Castillo (The Castle), Tulum
The biggest building in Tulum ruins, located nearly in the border of the crag. It is referred to as El Castillo (The Castle), and from the very building, it’s possible to look at the Caribbean Sea.
Built in two phases, the most ancient phase worked as a base to raise the upper temple, same base which is the biggest of the whole archaeological complex. The upper temple worked for religious ceremonies.
It counts with three entrances, two vaulted chambers with altars where offerings were left, and a lintel supported by two columns with a snake figure.
It is said that this building worked as a lighthouse for the indigenous sailing through the coral reefs.
Templo del Diós del Viento (Wind God’s Temple)
Thanks to its location, right beside the turquoise sea, it is one of the most photographed buildings in Tulum ruins.
The temple is part of the Kukulcan Group, located to the north of The Castle. The group consists of several minor buildings among which The Wind God’s Temple stands out.
Its name comes from the roundness of its base without corners, shape traditionally linked to the Wind God Ehecatl, locally associated with the Mayan deity Kukulcan.
As the wind blows from every direction, the Wind God was linked to the four cardinal points. The temples related to it have a round base to let the wind pass without resistance.
The building itself is a little sanctuary with a little altar. Even in 1924, the temple was still in use for religious purposes.
A legend about The Wind God’s Temple states that whenever a hurricane gets close to Tulum, a whistle comes from a hole in the building designed to advise Mayans they would have to leave the place and look for protection.
Templo de los Frescos (Frescoes Temple), Tulum
Frescoes Temple stands out for its interior decorated with brightly colored paintings. Its wall paintings represent schematic deities made with lines in an area of approximately 8m long by less than 1m high, proof of pre-Hispanic Mayan mural painting. It had an important social and religious function, its general appearance suggests it was a place of deep worship.
In the corners, it is possible to see large stuccoed masks that possibly represented the Mayan god creator, Itzamná.
About Tulum Ruins
Tulum resulted from an expansion of the Postclassic Tankah, a site located about four kilometers north with which the group “Zamá-Xamanzamá” formed. Its location on the cliffs made it an extremely restricted access site and with the advantage of its beach that allowed maritime communication. Thanks to this, Tulum evolved rapidly.
The architecture is of the “east coast” style of few decorative variants, based on the use of a combination of moldings that delimit a frieze. The highest social classes inhabited the walled enclosure, a space that constituted the civic, ceremonial and administrative sector.
Religion had a special function in the society of Tulum, as evidenced by the numerous temples, shrines, and altars, with representations of deities and allusions to wind, rain, fertility, and life. The site was a special center for the veneration of the “Descending God”, represented in several buildings.
As you could read, Tulum Archaeological Site has a lot to research about.
Don’t miss to visit these amazing Mayan ruins. Get to our Tulum Tour page for more info.
Now, if you are in some other town of Riviera Maya and want to visit this Archaeological Site, you could also book a shuttle to Tulum and enjoy one or two days at this Caribbean destination.