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Maya Pyramids at Uxmal Glow in the Mexican Night with New Light and Sound System
View of the light and sound spectacle during the inauguration of this system in the Maya ruins in Uxmal, in the State of Yucatan. Photo: EFE/Jacinto Kanek.

MERIDA.-EFE The Mayan archaeological area at Uxmal premiered over the weekend the latest generation of sound-and-light shows to highlight the aesthetics of the monuments while preserving their structure and guaranteeing their conservation.

The installation of the new equipment was funded by the Tourism Development Bureau of the southeastern state of Yucatan.

It was supervised by the National Archaeology Council of Mexico's National Anthropology and History Institute and cost 25 million pesos ($1.8 million).

In presenting the innovative system, Yucatan Tourism Secretary Juan Jose Martin said that its installation required no excavations but used conduits laid more than 30 years ago.

The U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization designated Uxmal a World Heritage Site in 1996.

At that time it recommended modifying the previous lighting system, which dated back to 1972, in order to preserve the pre-Columbian fortress that reached the peak of its splendor in the ninth century.

The new system's cold colored light based on light-emitting diodes has a more aesthetic effect thanks to its design, dimensions and location.

It does not mar the view of the monuments, is almost imperceptible by day and allows the structures to be appreciated in greater detail by bringing out the buildings' sculptural reliefs.

The system harms neither the Mayan architecture nor the environment because it consumes 50 percent less energy than the previous ones, is very durable, generates no heat and has a working life of more than 30,000 hours.

Workers installing the new system also repaired the cracks and sinkage that were allowing moisture to leak inside the Mayan structures.

And so the Grand Pyramid, Pyramid of the Magician, Governor's Palace, House of the Turtles, Nunnery Quadrangle and House of the Macaws now glow in the Mexican night thanks to the new lighting in tones of Maya blue and turquoise, reds of kancab and hematite, yellow, ochre and jade green.

These colors correspond to the ones originally used to decorate the monuments.

The chromatic spectrum offers the human eye 16,000 shades of colors, and 36,000 to cameras.

No more than 250 people may attend the sound-and-light show at the same time, which they enter through a passageway to the area surrounding the northern building on the Nunnery Quadrangle.

From there they enjoy 45 minutes of each building being progressively illuminated while listening to a narration based on the work of Yucatan poet Antonio Mediz Bolio, which includes fragments of the book of Maya mythology, the Popol Vuh.

Although the basic language is Spanish, simultaneous translations are available in English, French, German and Italian.

"We're not offering a discotheque-type show. We respect the original design, our roots and the work of anthropologists," Martin said. EFE

Maya | Pyramids | Uxmal | National Archaeology Council | National Anthropology and History Institute | Pyramid of the Magician | Governor's Palace | House of the Turtles | Nunnery Quadrangle | House of the Macaws |

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