Kabah, meaning "Strong Hand" in Mayan, is the legendary birthplace of Uxmal's Dwarf Magician. The site was inhabited from about 350 B.C.E., but most of the architecture was built around 700-1100 C.E. While not as large as Uxmal, Kabah was once a thriving metropolis. It is thought that in early times it was an adversary of Uxmal, but that they eventually became allied.
Kabah Wall of Masks Photograph

Kabah is most known for it's Codz-Poop, or the Palace of the Masks (above). It is a building with an entire fa├žade decorated with the face of the rain god Chaac with his long hooked nose. As is common in Puuc Mayan architecture, the wall was constructed as a jigsaw mosaic of hundreds of molded concrete blocks. The Maya had perfected the use of concrete as a building material and limestone, its primary ingredient, was abundant throughout the Yucatan.

The obsessive repetition of Chaac, "Protector of the Harvest", both here and at various other Mayan sites speaks strongly to the importance placed on this god, and of the scarcity of water throughout the region. With no cenotes found on this dryer northern side of the Yucatan, they were entirely dependent on the rain. Here they often built chultunes, which were reservoirs to collect rain water. They also constructed geometric drainage systems of canals to help irrigate the land. In spite of these innovations, by the 11th century this and the surrounding Puuc sites had all but been abandoned, with drought suspected as a primary cause of their decline.

Kabah Arch Photograph
Kabah Arch

This monument acted as the gateway to the city of Kabah, linking it via a sacbe to the city of Uxmal 11 miles (18 km) to the Northwest.

Kabah Sacrifice Mural Photograph
Mayan Conquest

This relief depicts a dominated enemy about to be killed by his captors, likely as a tribute to some prior battle. Unfortunately, the hieroglyphs above this piece, intended to track the dates and details of the event, have since been damaged.

Kabah Statue Photograph
Codz-Poop Statue

On the opposite side of the Palace of the Masks are two life sized statues of the former ruler of Kabah. Above his head is another depiction of the rain god Chaac, signifying his elevated status between that of man and deity.