An archaeological site of a Pre-Columbian walled city built by the Mayans. Tulu’um served as a major port for Cobá on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.
Tulúm (or Tulu’um) is the site of a pre-Columbian Mayan walled city that served as a major port for Cobá. These Mexican ruins are located on 12-meter high cliffs along the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula that juts into the Caribbean. Tulúm is the Yucatec Mayan word for wall. The walls surrounding the site allowed for defense of the city against invasion.
Numerous depictions in murals and other works around the site show that Tulúm was an important place for worship of the Diving or Descending god. Tulúm was occupied from what is now called the late post-classic period (around AD 1200) until the early 16th century and has an architectural style typical of Mayan sites on the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula. It is similar to that found at its more famous neighbor Chichen Itza, but on a much smaller scale.
Among some of the more spectacular buildings at the site is the Temple of the Frescoes that contains a lower gallery and a smaller second story gallery. Carved figures of the Maya “Diving god” or Venus deity decorate the façade of the temple. In the center of the site is the Castillo, which is 7.5 meters tall. The Castillo was built on a previous building that was colonnaded and had a beam and mortar roof. A small shrine appears to have been used as a beacon for incoming boats. This shrine marks a break in the barrier reef that is opposite the site.
There is a nice cove and landing beach in a break in the sea cliffs adjacent to the Castillo that would have allowed for commercial trading. Also, as both coastal and land routes converge at Tulúm, the archaeologists have discovered a large number of artifacts at the site. The site itself is relatively compact (compared with many other Mayan sites in the vicinity) and is close to many resorts on the Riviera Maya, south of Cancún. The Tulúm ruins are the third most-visited archaeological site in Mexico, after Teotihuacan and Chichen Itza.