Found in the uitze or lomerío
region. Labná or “Old House” in Maya is remarkable for the
arch that has been described as one of the architectonic
jewels of the classic development of the Puuc. Once a city
of some 1.500 to 2.500 people, inhabited between 750 to 1000
Presently four buildings are in a restored state. Notice the
caretakers open thatched roof home as you enter the site.
The palace at this site has 70 chultunes (water cisterns)
that are not visible. There is also an artistically
intricate arch at this site.
The arch at Labná has
become one of the main images used when companies wish to
portray something "Mayan." It is located at the foot of El
Mirador, and is on the opposite side of the city to where
tourists enter the site.
Measuring about 42 feet wide and standing 20 feet high, the
arch shows one of the definitive architectural
"fingerprints" of the Mayan people, namely the Mayan or
Corbelled Archway. The arch once served as the entrance to
the city and has a small room on one side where a guard on
sentry might found shelter from the elements. Both sides of
the arch are richly carved in the Classic Puuc style.
The Main Facade (the one that faces towards the interior of
the city) is decorated in a style that is similar to the
Nunnery Quadrangle in
That is, in each of the small doorways that acted as guard
houses have a sculpture over it called a Xanil Nah, which
was essentially a stone representation of a the thatched
roof hut that the Maya used as living quarters. These stone
huts are overlapping a cross-hatched "X" design similar to
overlapping long parallel poles in an "X" pattern to signify
a house, or in this case, the arch, as having a special
function. This face also has a Chaac mask on the north-west
corner of the frieze.
Either side of the doorway on the External Facade has two
square spiraling Muyal or “Cloud” scrolls marking this
building as a community or cloud house, thereby welcoming
visitors into the city. Between the cloud symbols are the
stone columns that are said to represent petrified trees.
When first uncovered by
John Stephens in 1840, the Mirador was not in much better
shape than it is today, though some restorations and
reinforcing has been done to prevent collapse. It appeared
to him as a huge ruined mound with only the roof comb
marking it as being part of a man made structure. The roof
comb stands out in the city as it is composed of many
jottings and out croppings that at one point held portions
of statues and other stone carved decorations. In Stephens'
time there were still arms, legs and torsos attached to the
comb and in the ruined fragments that littered the base of
the mound. These statues have either been reconstructed and
removed from the site, or they have long since been stolen.
Stephen's observed a colossal figure over the center point
of the wall over the surviving door that we now know was of
a Mayan goddess. The wall also shows two figures that we
know to be ball players with a ball between them. It is
interesting to note that most texts tell us that "No
evidence of the ball ever being touched or caught with the
hands tells us that the ball could not be touched", yet in
his descriptions Stephens is quite specific in telling us
that one figure is holding the ball while the other seems to
be supporting it from beneath.
El Mirador is also sometimes called "El Castillo."
GREAT PALACE OF LABNÁ:
The Great Palace at Labná
is very similar in design and function to the Palace of
Constructed in the Classic Puuc style, it consisted of
vaulted rooms over at least two levels, with stone columns
(meant to represent petrified trees) and Chaac masks
There is a long Pathway from the center of The Great Palace
that leads to the Labná Arch. This appears to indicate that
visitors would pass through the main gate (The Labná Arch)
and would be required to pass by The Great Palace where
royalty and the higher political ranks of the city would
TEMPLE OF THE COLUMNS:
Located east of The Great
Palace at Labná, this single structure with five doorways
facing the center of the city is another example of the
Classic Puuc construction style.
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