Pyramid of the Magician

The Adivino Pyramid ( also: Pyramid of the Magician, Pyramid of the Magician, Pyramid of the Dwarf ) is a Mesoamerican step pyramid in the ancient pre-Columbian ruined city of Uxmal, Mexico. The pyramid is the largest and most striking structure in Uxmal.


The Adivino pyramid is the main building of the Mayan ruins of Uxmal complex in the hills in the southwest of Yucatán. Like other places in the Puuc region was the heyday of Uxmal 600-1000 AD, the most important buildings in 700-1000 AD emerged. At that time, there were about 25,000 Maya. The name Uxmal means in Maya language " built three times " and refers to the many layers in the construction of important buildings.

Uxmal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. The ruins of the ceremonial structures exist in relation to design, layout and ornamentation as the pinnacle of late Mayan art and Mayan architecture.

The Adivino pyramid dominates the center of the plant and is located at the tourist entrance to the central courtyard. It was located on the east side of the city - its west side overlooks the Nuns Quadrangle ( Cuadrángulo Nuns ) and is designed so that the West staircase is directly aligned with the sunset on the summer solstice.

The construction of the first pyramid temple began in the 6th century AD Over the next 400 years was expanded the building again and again. The pyramid fell into disuse after 1000 AD and was plundered during the Spanish conquest of Yucatán.

The first detailed report of the rediscovery of the ruins of Uxmal was published in 1838 by Jean -Frederic Waldeck. This inspired John Lloyd Stephens and his friend and illustrator Frederick Catherwood, to visit the plant 1839-1841 twice as long to document the arrangement of the complex and recorded. This became the basis for Sephens book Incidents of Travel in Yucatan the.

The restoration of Uxmal began in the mid -19th century. The Adivino pyramid was repaired at this time. In the early 1970s, a large conservation project of archaeologists from the Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia ( INAH ) has been initiated to strengthen the sides and flat terraces of the pyramid and to improve the structural integrity of the temple. 1988 Hurricane Gilbert swept across the Yucatan Peninsula with strong winds and heavy rains, which caused significant damage to the outside of the pyramid. According to a survey after the hurricane found cracks that had developed in the walls of the south side and on both sides of the western staircase. In addition, damage to the vertical walls at the foot of the western side of the pyramid were found.

Archaeologists and conservators of the INAH immediately began a path for the preservation and stabilization of the pyramid to develop. It had the western facade reinforced checks all the structural damage and introduced emergency measures when necessary. The voids under the foundation of the steps were filled with mortared masonry and with cement and plaster. A motion monitoring has been set up at critical points in order to determine a collapse hazard can. The emergency measures to stabilize the pyramid prevented a collapse. In 1997, archaeologists, however, another small cracks to be that arose in the walls of the pyramid. The conservation measures are still in progress and it's visitors to the site forbidden to climb the pyramid.

Construction and design

The Adivino Pyramid Uxmal dominated and is because of its rounded sides, their considerable height, steep outside walls and the unusual elliptical foundation as unique. Roughly hewn stones dress the body of the pyramid, where these stones now largely come from stabilization works from recent years.

West view with access to the temples I and IV

Northwest view front the northern building of the bird place

East elevation with staircase and access to the Temple II


The exact amount of Adivino pyramid is controversial and has been with both 131 feet (about 40 meters ) and 90.5 feet (about 27.5 meters) specified. The accepted height is 115 feet (about 35 meters). The foundation is measured about 227 x 162 feet (about 69 x 49 meters). Although no exact dimensions are present, the pyramid is the largest structure in Uxmal and the most prominent Mayan structure on the peninsula of Yucatán.

Construction phases

The construction of the pyramid has been implemented in more than three centuries during the end of the Classic Maya civilization in different phases. Marta Foncerrada del Molina dated in her book Fechas de radiocarbono en el area Maya the start of construction of the Adivino pyramid to the 6th century, which continue periodically until the 10th century: " This classification refers to radiocarbon dating to 560 AD ( ± 50 years ) for the lower western part of the temple as on Foncerradas stylistic dating of the inner Temple I and II "

Overall, the emergence of the pyramid can be divided into at least five phases, where the different components are traditionally referred to as "temple", but this says nothing about their actual function. So the Mayans followed a traditional practice in the construction of the pyramid: They expanded step by step the dimensions by setting up new phases of construction to existing construction stages. Just as the pyramid stands today, it is the result of five nested temples. Parts of the first temple are visible when you go up the western stairs. The second and third temple can be entered from the eastern staircase - by an inner chamber on the second level. The third temple is a narthex before the fourth temple. The fourth temple is clearly visible from the west side. If you climb up all the eastern stairs to the top, the fifth temple is visible, which is located on the second and third temple.

Temple I

The first temple is the oldest component and visible from the west side at the foot of the pyramid. This part dates from about the 6th century AD This can be inferred from the radiocarbon dating and from the date on the lintel.

The temple I was originally a separate building. It forms the eastern boundary of the bird farm whose perimeter development at this time, however, was not yet complete. The staircase from the Vogelhof that leads to the Temple IV, goes across the facade of the First Temple. In order for these stairs covered the temple I partially, so that access to the temple I was created through a vaulted passage, which is walled up.

The first temple is typical of the classic Puuc style. It consists of two parallel rows of five rooms, with the eastern ( rear ) series was originally developed by the Western series spaces. At the end of each row there was originally a transverse space. The average input is no longer visible today. Some of these rooms were probably filled during the final stages of construction of the pyramid static reasons with rubble stone masonry. Each door had used at the corners, thick corner posts and door beams, which consisted of two wooden beams. However, these bars are obtained only at one point. In one of the beams radiocarbon dating has been made ​​that these on 740-760 dated AD ( Laboratory No. Hei 15505 ). The confidence interval is 1 sigma, which means that the tree with a probability of 68% was made in this period.

The facade of the first temple is decorated with masks of the rain god Chaac, which is characteristic of the Chenes style of Maya architecture, even if the masks were added at a later date. The rest of the component is hidden by later construction phases of the pyramid construction. The passage that led to this component, was after the heavy rains of Hurricane Gilbert ( 1988) locked to ensure the preservation of this building.

The façade is composed of a base with three elements: To get the whole building attracts a number lower small columns, alternating with smooth surfaces and are surrounded by two smooth bands. Smooth lining stones make the lower wall surface. The areas between the doors and between doors and the corners each have three fields, which are designed each with three small columns which extend over the entire height of the bottom wall. These columns fields differ from the small columns of the base. Noteworthy is the average cornice, whose unusually diverse and strong decoration notice. It consists of oversized, monolithic components, of which the record sides jut outward and downward. Here, the bottom is decorated with pin-like, simply stepped elements, which have the form of " ik " icon. This is like a "T " with three equal length beams in about. The face side is richly decorated. Here we find a bas-relief with fish, tendrils, figurative motifs, crossed long bones, the single brief hieroglyphic texts and plaits. Above this lowest element is a continuous series of small columns cranked. In addition there is another band. This is reminiscent of flat-lying, small columns, which have around its circumference regular cuts.

The wall area above it is smooth and interrupted only by the inputs with doubled over set, major Chaac masks. About the middle entrance ( it is below a staircase built later ) was a sculptured representation of the Queen of Uxmal ( " Reina de Uxmal "). This is actually the face of a priest, which is partially tattooed and comes out of the mouth of a stylized snake. As part of the restoration work, this sculpture was removed. In addition, two very well-preserved, large trunk masks, but can not be visited since the last restoration measures, as had to be closed for reasons of stability of the passage. The upper cornice is Neute not received in original bearing. For elements that were found in the rubble, it is concluded that the design of the upper cornice might have resembled that of the middle cornice.

Temple II

The Temple II is the second phase of construction of the pyramid. This phase of construction was also the first step towards the actual pyramid. The second temple can be accessed through an opening in the upper part of the eastern stairs. This temple is only partially exposed. His main chamber is supported by pillars and a roof ridge. The roof ridge is visible only through a slot in the bottom of the overlying Temple V.

His focus of this temple has a little east of the rear façade of the Temple I. This covers the Temple II partially with a total height of 22 meters. For structural reasons, the back rooms of the Temple II were filled partly with stone masonry. This first pyramid was a platform with a east-facing building, the portico was probably supported by eight pillars. The number of columns can only be estimated since the excavation has not been executed up to the ends of the building. Later, the elongated space of the portico was divided by two transverse walls into three rooms. These cross walls closed each one of the above columns and received by the nature of inputs, which were supported by two pillars.

Temple III

The Temple III is oriented to the west and was built on the back of the Temple II. It is not visible from the outside and is made of a pre-chamber and a small shrine which lie one behind the other. Its facade has a two-tier mid cornice and a tripartite upper cornice in the Puuc style. The upper half of the wall of the temple tilts inward. Here can be found - as in the upper cornice - stone cones, which were once used for fastening a stucco decoration, which no longer exists today.

The Temple III is a staircase that is hardly recognizable today. During the construction of the overlying Temple V, the rear room as well as the rear half of the front of it the room had to be bricked up in order to provide better static. Later buildings meant that the temple was III finally completely covered and only by the middle of the eastern staircase is accessible by a modern tunnel today.

Temple IV

The Temple IV is entered from the west side and is decorated richest. It was built in the Chenes style. The facade of this building is completely covered with masks of the rain god Chaac and a Gitterornamentik. The entrance in the style of the Chenes dragonmouth inputs represents the mask of Chaac that are normally found in the Chenes and Rio Bec area. Here 's jaw of Chaac acts as a door. Overall, the top two temples are particularly strongly influenced by the Chenes style. The interior of the fourth temple is relatively high. Here, the approach of the vault is over 4 meters. Two wooden beams bore the entrance.

The Temple IV was built around and over the Temple III. It thus extends the Temple III to the front. The entrance to the temple is reached by a staircase from Vogelhof IV. This staircase has a chain of masks of the rain god Chaac at their edges.

Temple V

The Temple V ( also: House of the Sorcerer, House of the Magician ) was in the final stages of construction of the pyramid in the Chenes style. This building sits on the pyramid and dates from the 9th century. It is thus the youngest and highest altitude building of the pyramid. It also features mesh ornamentation and consists of three narrow rooms that are aligned in north-south direction.

The Temple V is directly above the Temple II at the level of the upper edge of the roof ridge. This was visible after excavations through a trap door. A new, steeper stairs on the east side has been built for the Temple V, which completely covers the Temple II. In addition, on the west side two more stairs were created, which pass by the temple V. Thus, this building used with stairs on both sides of the two main sides of the pyramid at the same time: The entrance of the central space is oriented to the west. The two rooms on the southern or the northern end have their inputs to the east. Before that is a narrow platform that is accessible by the broad staircase on the east side.

The west side facade is based on a plinth on which two smooth bands form the framework for a registered countersunk band of tiny columns. The lower panel of the west facade has on both sides of the entrance, two fields with oblique crossing set serrated stones ( chimez ). In the middle of a fully plastic figure was ever fixed in stone, but of the residues can only be found today. The laterally adjacent wall surfaces are made ​​smooth.

With the center a projecting cornice, smooth band of two obliquely outwardly projecting bands is framed. The top panel has four individually standing meanders, projecting a rectangular pin from the wall in front of which, on probably once stood a figure. The upper cornice corresponds to the mean and is only located a bit higher.

The east facade is decorated considerably less. The smooth bottom wall half is separated by the usual dreibändrige ledge of the upper panel half. The upper panel is badly damaged. However, in the extension of the center line of the eastern staircase a vivid image of a traditional house with a palm leaf roof is still preserved.

Since the pyramid was damaged by a hurricane, the climb is no longer allowed for static reasons. Today only the lowest part of the building is open to visitors.


There are leading to the top of the pyramid two flights of stairs, both with a slope of 60 degrees. The eastern staircase is the broader of the two staircases leading from the foundation to the top of the temple. Near the upper end of the eastern stairs is a small, internal temple, which divides the stairs.

The western staircase overlooks the nuns square and is richly decorated in comparison to the east side. Along both sides of narrow stairs to find pictures of the hook-nosed rain god Chaac. Worshipers who were on these stairs on the way to the upper temple, so erklimmten the ceremonial "Staircase of the Gods " to the place of sacrifice.

Architectural styles

The early stages of Adivino pyramid were built in the Puuc style: rather bare at the bottom and very ornate at the higher levels. The Early Puuc architecture includes a roof ridges, sloping friezes and a lack of mosaics. Later limestones were used in the construction in the Puuc style - often with smooth wall décor, stucco, masks and other representations of the rain god Chaac and shaping along horizontal lines. The sides of the pyramid were probably once decorated with stucco work in different colors, each color symbolizing a compass direction.

The Chenes style certain predominantly the late classical Mayan architecture with its inputs, which were designed by a single mask that represented the input as an open mouth. The facades of the multi comb built here are often divided into three parts - the central region which is positioned either projecting or retreating from the rest of the facade. The chambers are usually graced with four Chaac masks. Features of the Chenes style can be found throughout in the top of the pyramid temples


The Adivino pyramid is the biggest tourist attraction of Uxmal. Near the entrance you can find today the pyramid is a cafeteria, a gift shop and toilets next to a small museum and a lecture room. The grounds are open from 8 am to 17 clock in the morning Clock - set to music with a light show in the evening in English and Spanish, with the Adivino pyramid is the focus of the show.


The name Pyramid of the Magician of Adivino pyramid is derived from a Mayan legend. It is unknown how old this myth is and how the pre-Columbian name of structure was. The legend appears in different font, which deal with the construction of the pyramid. One of these records indicate that the Creator God Itzamná is said to have built the pyramids with his power and magic in one night alone.

According to another story, Uxmal was doomed to fall to a boy who was born from no woman, when a certain gong was struck. This gong was one day struck by a dwarf, who was brought by any woman on the world, but an egg entschlüfte that was hatched by a childless woman - the tourist guide of Uxmal According to it was the egg of an iguana and the woman was a witch. The sound of the gong was chasing the leaders of the city, a fear that has been so that the dwarf was to be executed. But you wanted to spare the lives of the dwarf if he should address three seemingly impossible tasks. One of these tasks was to build in one night a mighty pyramid, which should be larger than any other building in the city. Finally, the dwarf did all the tasks - including the pyramids were built. So the dwarf was named the new leader of Uxmal and the building dedicated to him. Therefore, the pyramid is also called Pyramid of the Dwarf.

A slightly different version of this legend is told by Hans Li in the book " The Ancient Ones": Thereafter this temple pyramid was built by a powerful dwarf magician who was hatched by his mother in an egg. Under the threat of a king of Uxmal, he was forced to build this temple within 14 days or else lose his life.

In other versions of what has been handed the old woman is presented as a witch or sorceress and the dwarf is a boy who grows up overnight in a magical way.

The "official" legend was John Lloyd Stephens in 1840 tells the story of a local indigenous people of the Maya as follows:

There was an old woman who lived in a hut that was located exactly where the pyramid stands today. This old woman was a witch, which began one day to wear mourning, because she had no children. One day she took an egg and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a corner of her small hut. Every day she looked after the egg until it slipped one day and a small child who is very similar to a baby came out of the enchanted egg.

The old woman was delighted and took the baby as their son. She got a nurse and took good care of, so that the essence within one year as a man behaved and spoke. After this year, it no longer continued to grow and the old woman was very proud of her son and told him that he would one day be a great ruler or king.

One day she told her son to go to the house of the governor and challenge the king to a trial of strength. The dwarf did not initially go, but the old woman insisted and so he went to meet the king. The guards could occur in and he challenged the king. The king smiled and said the dwarf he should raise a stone of three kilos of weigh (about 34kg ). Then cried the dwarf and ran back to his mother. The witch was wise and told her son that he should tell the king that if the king would lift the stone first, he would lift it. The dwarf went back to the king and told him what his mother had told him. The king lifted the stone and the dwarf did the same. The king was impressed and a little nervous and asked the dwarf with other large power services for the rest of the day to the test. Every time the king asked his strength to the test, he managed the dwarf, to do the same.

The king was angry that a dwarf was as strong as he is and told the dwarf that this had to build a house in one night, more than any other house in the city or he would be executed. The dwarf came back crying to his mother's back, telling him that he should not give up hope and that he should go straight to bed. The next morning, the city saw the Pyramid of the Dwarf in the finished state - higher than any other building in the city.

The king looked the building of his palace and was angry again. He called the dwarf to him, and ordered a final showdown. The dwarf was to collect two bundles Cogoilholz, a very strong and heavy wood, and the king would break the wood on the head of the dwarf in half and then would be the dwarf 's turn to break asunder the wood on the king's head.

The dwarf ran for help to his mother. She told him that he should not worry and put an enchanted tortilla as protection on his head. The showdown was held in front of the city leaders. The king broke the whole bundle floor by floor in half on the head of the dwarf without him injured and tried to withdraw from the trial of strength. However, he knew he had no choice before the assembled city leaders than to go ahead and let the dwarf 's turn.

The second floor of the bundle of the dwarf broke the skull of the king to pieces, and he fell dead at the feet of the dwarf, who was hailed as the new king. Ranney, Edward. Stonework of the Maya. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1974, pp. 80-81


Stephens and Catherwood visited Uxmal for the first time in 1839 and again during their expedition of 1841 Stephens describes his first view of the ruins as follows.:

" We took a different road and suddenly popped out of the woods to my surprise, a once large open field with vertreuten ruins and huge buildings on terraces and pyramidal structures, large and well preserved, richly decorated without a bush that obstructs the view and a picturesque impression which corresponded to almost the ruins of Thebes ... the place where I was now talking without a doubt once a large, densely populated and highly civilized city. Who built it, why she was away from water or any of these natural advantages that the location of certain cities whose history is known, which led to their task and ruin, no man can say ... " ( Stephens, John L. incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan Volume I. New York: Dover Publications, 1969, p 64)

" The classic pyramid shape was detached here. It is as if the Mayan architects of the mountain peaks had reminded where the gods were worshiped in the veiled past " ( Helfritz, Hans. Mexican Cities of the Gods: An Archeological Guide New York:. Praeger, 1970, p 149 )