Labna is one of a series of former Maya settlements in Mexico’s Yucatan region and part of what is known as the Puuc Trail.
History of Labna
Like the city of Uxmal, with which it is linked, Labna is a small Classic Maya site, thought to have been built between 600 and 900AD. Further building work was undertaken after that but the population began to decline, until Labna was eventually abandoned around 1200AD.
Labna was ‘rediscovered’ by John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood in 1842, and the first excavations were done about 50 years later.
Labna’s structures, such as its palace and its archway, are beautifully ornate, with much of its decorative carving still in excellent condition. Of particular note are some of the masks of Chaac, the rain god. However, unlike its counterpart, Labna is quite small and receives far fewer visitors than the nearby Uxmal. It features pure Puuc style architecture such as colonnettes and mosaic designs. Sacbes join together key sites, such as El Palacio and El Arco.
It is believed that around 3000 Maya lived here at the city’s peak (around the 9th century): the landscape is relatively arid and so water was collected in chultunes (cisterns), many of which are still visible today.
Labna is a relatively small site: allow an hour or two for your visit to explore fully, and wear sturdy footwear to climb over ruins. Guides can be useful. Some choose to cycle between sites on this stretch of the Puuc Trail.
Getting to Labna
Labna is pretty remote: the nearest big cities are Campeche or Merida, but both are several hours drive away. It’s a few kilometres off Ruta 261, and buses run by relatively frequently. Nearby smaller towns have accommodation options and Labna is part of the longer Puuc Trail which many like to take the time to explore fully.
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