• INAH-DMC/Mauricio Marat
    INAH-DMC/Mauricio Marat
  • INAH-DMC/Mauricio Marat
    INAH-DMC/Mauricio Marat
  • INAH-DMC/Mauricio Marat
    INAH-DMC/Mauricio Marat
  • INAH-DMC/Héctor Montaño
    INAH-DMC/Héctor Montaño
  • INAH-DMC/Mauricio Marat
    INAH-DMC/Mauricio Marat
  • INAH-DMC/Héctor Montaño
    INAH-DMC/Héctor Montaño
  • INAH-DMC/Mauricio Marat
    INAH-DMC/Mauricio Marat
  • INAH-Mediateca/Juan Carlos de la Fuente
    INAH-Mediateca/Juan Carlos de la Fuente
  • INAH-Mediateca/Juan Carlos de la Fuente
    INAH-Mediateca/Juan Carlos de la Fuente
  • INAH-DMC/Héctor Montaño
    INAH-DMC/Héctor Montaño
Tulum
Walls/ramparts
A powerful walled city on the coast, with some of the best preserved mural paintings in the Mayan area. Its monuments exemplify the particular style of the East Coast, where the ancient pointed arch gave way to flat roofs supported by columns.
About the site
The buildings that can be seen in Tulum today are from the Middle and Late Postclassic (1250-1550), the final period of pre-Hispanic occupation of the Yucatan peninsula. The presence of some elements corresponding to previous stages, such as Stela 1 which dates to 564, as well as Structure 59, which has some stylistic elements from the Terminal Classic, indicate that the city could have been founded in an older period, possibly under the control of nearby Tancah.

Archeological studies have consistently shown that Tulum was one of the principal Mayan cities from the thirteenth to fourteenth centuries. Its strategic location between the “kuchkabaloob” (Maya for provinces) of Cochuah and Cozumel, its setting at the highest point of the region and its effective defensive position ensured that it was a nodal point, well positioned to exploit the rich marine resources of the coast of Quintana Roo. Tulum might have been a “batabil” (Maya for independent city), free from the control of other states, practically until the arrival of the Spanish in the fifteenth century, when it was finally abandoned.

The architecture of its earliest buildings features some Puuc-style elements, but like the other structures of the east coast of Quintana Roo, Tulum is free from jonquils (semi-rounded Puuc columns) and mosaics. On the other hand it presents some unique features such as smooth surfaces, which were undoubtedly decorated with beautiful wall paintings, now lost.

The Tulum region seems to have experienced significant population growth after the year 1200. At this time, the architects of the region perfected their own building style which later became very popular. It was certainly not until after 1400 that the majority of the area’s architectural projects were carried out, and when the style known by the archeologists as “East Coast” came into its own. This style is typified by the use of miniature temples, shrines within shrines (small buildings inside larger ones), buildings with intentionally collapsed walls, as well as palaces with colonnades and flat roofs, which replaced the vaulted coverings of the Mayan buildings of previous eras.

The adornment of the Tulum buildings includes niches over the door lintels, which nearly always featured a stucco representation of the diving god. The technique and religious content of the Tulum mural paintings were immensely complex. The outstanding feature is the presentation of human and animal figures in profile, whilst objects were presented from the front. According to some authors, the symbolic content of the Tulum paintings is concerned with cosmological themes linking to rebirth and the passing of beings from the underworld to a middle earth, where human and mythical traits come together, and where Venus and the Sun play very important roles. The researcher Arthur Miller has suggested that the sanctuaries of Tulum were dedicated to cosmological rituals in which pilgrims from various locations participated, and which were possibly related to long distance trade, the city’s principal source of wealth.

If this hypothesis is true, the sacred and the profane would have been indissolubly linked to the design and features of the walled city of Tulum, since trade would have been the basis for this city becoming a highly important ceremonial center and a notable seat of political power.

It appears that the name “Tulum” is relatively recent. It means a protective wall, enclosure or palisade, in allusion to the still-intact walls which encircle the group of monuments. The name Tulum seems to have been given to the city after it was abandoned or already in ruins.

The story of Tulum’s discovery is long and complex. In 1518, during Juan de Grijalva’s second expedition to the Mexican coast, the expedition’s chaplain and chronicler Juan Diaz wrote about having seen a city “as large as Seville,” which might well have been Tulum, which in those times was densely populated and was apparently the principal city of an independent province, a Mayan “batabil,” as mentioned above. The beginnings of the conquest, and eventual Spanish colonization of the Yucatan peninsula, had such a devastating impact on the region that when the “Relaciones de Yucatán” (Accounts of the Yucatan) were written by Juan de Reigosa in 1579, Tulum was described as a ruined settlement, and its splendor was a thing of the past.
foto_01
César Lizardi
foto_02
César Lizardi
foto_03
César Lizardi
foto_04
César Lizardi
564 - 1550

Clásico temprano a Posclásico Tardío
Posclásico

1250 - 1550

Did you know...
  • The walled city is part of a large pre-Hispanic settlement to which the site of Tancah, two miles to the north, also belongs.
  • It is the most representative and famous site of the coast of Quintana Roo.
  • During the indigenous rebellion known as the Caste War (1847), the walled city became a sanctuary for the rebellious Maya.
An exert point of view
An exceptional site with well-preserved buildings, ornate wall painting and a striking setting overlooking the Caribbean.
Adriana Velázquez Morlet
Adriana Velázquez Morlet
Centro INAH Quintana Roo
Archeological site
Tulum
Practical information
Monday to Sunday from 9:00 to 17:00 hrs

$80.00 pesos


  • Extra fee for video cameras
  • Extra fee for professional cameras
  • Discount for senior Mexican citizens
  • Discount for Mexican students and teachers
  • No Smoking
  • No entry with food
  • Pets not allowed
Se localiza al sur de Cancún, junto al poblado de Tulum, dentro del Parque Nacional Tulum.

Services
  • Accesibilidad
  • Sanitarios
  • Visitas guiadas
  • +52 (983) 837 0796
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • VISITA VIRTUAL
Directory
Jefe del Departamento de Operación de Sitio
Darwin Carabeo Barabata
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
+52 (984) 802 5405
1808
211_A_000
TULUM_FOTO_MAURICIO_MARAT_INAH
INAH-DMC/Mauricio Marat
Tulum_Foto_Mauricio_Marat_INAH2
INAH-DMC/Mauricio Marat
tulum_foto_mauricio_marat
INAH-DMC/Mauricio Marat
TULUM_FOTOS_HECTOR_MONTAO_INAH
INAH-DMC/Héctor Montaño
tulum_foto_mauricio_marat_4
INAH-DMC/Mauricio Marat
TULUM_FOTOS_HECTOR_MONTAO_INAH_2
INAH-DMC/Héctor Montaño
FOTOS_MAURICIO_MARAT_INAH_1
INAH-DMC/Mauricio Marat
20140101D80ArqueologaZona_Arqueolgica_de_Tulum,_Solidaridad,_Quintana_Roo_DSC_5634
INAH-Mediateca/Juan Carlos de la Fuente
20140101D80ArqueologaZona_Arqueolgica_de_Tulum,_Solidaridad,_Quintana_Roo_DSC_5612
INAH-Mediateca/Juan Carlos de la Fuente
TULUM_FOTOS_HECTOR_MONTAO_INAH_3
INAH-DMC/Héctor Montaño
Sureste
Poderosa ciudad costera amurallada, con algunas de las pinturas murales mejor conservadas del área maya. Sus monumentos ejemplifican un estilo peculiar, el Costa Oriental, donde el antiguo arco apuntado cede el lugar a los techos planos sostenidos por columnas.
A powerful walled city on the coast, with some of the best preserved mural paintings in the Mayan area. Its monuments exemplify the particular style of the East Coast, where the ancient pointed arch gave way to flat roofs supported by columns.
Muralla
Walls/ramparts

LEGAL NOTICE

The contents of this website belong to the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia de México, and may be downloaded and shared without alterations, provided that the author is acknowledged and if is not for commercial purposes.

Footer MediatecaINAH

Guardar
Lugares INAH

Idioma