5 Interesting Facts About the Pyramid of the Magician

, ,

Nestled within the ancient city of Uxmal in the heart of the Yucatan Peninsula, we find the Pyramid of the Magician, an age-old structure towering over its counterparts. This remarkable pyramid is a testament to the ingenuity, artistry, and spiritual beliefs of the ancient Maya civilization.


From its unique shape to its alignment with celestial events, each tidbit surrounding the pyramid offers a glimpse into the complexities and legends surrounding this iconic structure. Here are five Pyramid of the Magician facts to prepare you for your visit and help you wow your friends.

1. Unique Architecture

The Pyramid of the Magician is unlike other Mesoamerican pyramids due to its unique shape. Unlike the typical rectangular or square pyramids common in this region, this particular structure features a rounded shape that forms an elliptical.

The rounded edges set it apart from the rest, giving it a distinct appearance that raises questions about its origins and the thought behind its construction.

2. Fascinating Local Legends

Ancient stories passed down through generations tell of the legends of the Pyramid of the Magician. While there are many different versions of the story, the most well-known version was told to John Lloyd Stephens by a local Maya native in 1840.

The story weaves a tale of how the pyramid now stands where a hut used to be, owned and lived in by an old woman with no children, said to be a witch. One day, she began to mourn over her childless home, so she decided to use her magic to make a child.

The child, said to be a dwarf, was born from an egg and magic. This mythical figure, known as Itzamna, possessed magical powers that allowed him to construct the pyramid with extraordinary speed, hence the name “The Pyramid of the Magician” or “El Adivino” in Spanish.

3. Celestial Alignments

The Pyramid of the Magician at Uxmal, like many ancient Mesoamerican structures, is thought to have been constructed with careful consideration of celestial alignments. Twice each year, the doorway of the temple on the top aligns with the setting sun. These dates, April 12 and August 31, are important on the Mayan astronomical calendar for tracking the sun’s zenith.

4. Remarkable Size and Scale

The Pyramid of the Magician is a towering structure, dominating the architecture around it with its sheer size and scale. It measures approximately 227 by 162 feet at its base and stands over 90 feet tall. Its tallest section houses a temple featuring a doorway that forms the Chac mask.

Its dominating stature holds the title of the tallest in Uxmal, towering over other palaces and structures nearby. The size is a testament to the ingenuity and craftsmanship of its builders, who constructed a structure that withstood the test of time.

5. Extremely Steep Stairs

The stairs leading up to the temple atop the Pyramid of the Magician aren’t for the faint of heart. The dozens of stairs up the face of the structure are incredibly steep, featuring narrow stair treads with just enough room to place your foot. The slope is about 60 degrees, a far cry from the 30 to 45-degree slope of standard staircases.


Soak in the Wonders of the Pyramid of the Magician on a Guided Tour

The mysteries and legends of the Pyramid of the Magician are truly fascinating, offering a sneak peek into years gone by. Whether you appreciate intriguing legends or architectural marvels, the Pyramid of the Magician is well worth a visit. So, if you plan to visit Mexico and immerse yourself in the wonders of ancient civilizations, don’t forget to stop here!

Or, simplify your journey by choosing a fully guided tour that brings you to the best of the best. At Caravan, we offer a nine-day tour of Mexico’s ancient civilizations that takes you from the wonders of Teotihuacan to the Mayan ruins at Palenque to the structures of Uxmal. Each stop explores the mysteries of old Mexico, serving as a window through time that creates memories to last a lifetime.

Ready to embark on a journey that will take you to the imposing heights of the Pyramid of the Magician and much more? Call 1-800-CARAVAN or 1-312-321-9800 today!