|John Lloyd Stephens 1836|
The last city visited by John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood in their monumental trip to Central America in 1839 and the first site revisited on their return was Uxmal. Stephens described the ruins as follows:
|Uxmal by Frederick Catherwood|
“… The first object that arrests the eye on emerging from the forest is the building [House of the Dwarf, see below]. From its front doorway I counted sixteen elevations, with broken walls and mounds of stones, and vast, magnificent edifices, which seemed untouched by time.
|Uxmal “The Nunnery”|
“While I was making the circuit of these ruins, Mr. Catherwood proceeded to the Casa del Gobernador. It is the grandest in position, the most stately in architecture and proportions, and the most perfect in preservation of all the structures remaining at Uxmal. … There is no rudeness or barbarity in the design or proportions; on the contrary, the whole wears an air of architectural symmetry and grandeur; and as the stranger ascends the steps and casts a bewildered eye along its open and desolate doors, it is hard to believe that he sees before him the work of a race in whose epitaph, as written by historians, they are called ignorant of art, and said to have perished in the rudeness of savage life. If it stood at this day on its grand artificial terrace in Hyde Park or the Garden of the Tuileries, it would form a new order, I do not say equaling, but not unworthy to stand side by side with the remains of Egyptian, Grecian, and Roman art.”
“My belief is that the sacrificial rituals that are attributed to the Mayans were introduced by other civilizations of Toltec and Aztec! As in Chichen Itsa, Mayans are a peaceful culture, I think, at least Uxmal feels that way to me! We were on a tour and our hotel was nearby. One of my daughters and I could not wait for the guide. We went on our own and climbed all over the pyramid and surrounding areas and felt so comfortable. [House of the Dwarf pictured below]
“We also joined the tour at the established time, but when that was done, we wandered off by ourselves again and found the un-restored area of the park. A kind worker saw our interest and gave us a tour of the jungle-covered part of the Mayan city and outside the walls where the commoners lived. We were so comfortable and felt as though it was familiar territory for us. We seemed to know where we were and where to go! Well, do I need to tell you that it sparked an interest in the Mayan civilization for both of us? And you can be sure that if there is reincarnation, my daughter and I lived there!
“It was about that time that I went to UCD to get a Masters and I took several courses on the culture. I have an interest in a trip to see the more important Mayan cities of Tikal , Palenque , Copan and Bonampak. I cannot revisit Uxmal since the first time was so magical I could probably never achieve that experience again!”