Tulum is the site of a pre-Columbian Mayan walled city which served as a major port for the ancient city of Coba, in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. Tulum is situated on the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula. Tulum was one of the last cities built and inhabited by the Maya.
Tulum is the site of a pre-Columbian Mayan walled city which served as a major port for the ancient city of Coba, in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. Tulum is situated on the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula. Both coastal and land routes converged at Tulum. A number of artifacts found in or near the site show contacts with areas all over Central Mexico and Central America.
Tulum was one of the last cities built and inhabited by the Maya. It was at its height between the 13th and 15th centuries and managed to survive about 70 years after the Spanish began occupying Mexico.
Old World diseases brought by the Spanish settlers appear to have resulted in very high fatalities, disrupting the society and eventually causing the city to be abandoned. One of the best-preserved coastal Maya sites, Tulum is today a popular site for tourists.
Tulum was protected on one side by steep sea cliffs and on the landward side by a wall that averaged about 3 - 5 m (10 - 16 ft) in height. The wall also was about 8 m (26 ft) thick and 400 m (1,300 ft) long on the side parallel to the sea.
There are three major structures of interest at the Tulum archaeological site. the Temple of the Frescoes, the Temple of the Descending God, and El Castillo,
The Temple of the Frescoes was used as an observatory for tracking the movements of the sun. The temple included a lower gallery and a smaller second story gallery. Niched figurines of the Maya "diving god" or Venus deity decorate the facade of the temple.
The Temple of the Descending God consists of a single room with a door to the west and a narrow staircase that was built on top of another temple that served as its base. In the niche located at the top of the door stands a sculpture that’s found throughout Tulum. He has wings, a headdress and holds an object in his hands.
El Castillo, which is 7.5 m (25 ft) tall, was built on a previous building that was colonnaded and had a beam and mortar roof. The lintels in the upper rooms have serpent motifs carved into them. The construction of El Castillo appears to have taken place in stages. A small shrine appears to have been used as a beacon for incoming canoes.