What Ancient Civilization Lived in Tulum?

Tulum is a stunning coastal town located in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. This beautiful place is famous for its ancient ruins that date back to the 13th century.

The ruins are believed to be the remains of an ancient civilization that once thrived in Tulum. In this article, we will explore what ancient civilization lived in Tulum and learn more about their culture and way of life.

Mayan Civilization

The ancient civilization that lived in Tulum was the Mayan civilization. The Mayans were one of the most advanced civilizations in Mesoamerica, known for their remarkable achievements in architecture, astronomy, mathematics, and art.


Tulum was one of the major cities of the Mayan Empire. It was located on the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, along the Caribbean Sea. The city was strategically built on a cliff overlooking the sea, making it easy to defend against invaders.


The Mayans arrived in Tulum around 564 AD and established it as a seaport. They used it as a hub for trading goods such as jade, obsidian, and cacao with other cities across Mesoamerica.

During its peak between 1200-1450 AD, Tulum became an important religious center for the Mayans with many temples dedicated to their gods. The city was also home to many wealthy families who lived in well-built houses made from limestone.


The architecture of Tulum is impressive and unique compared to other Mayan cities. The buildings are relatively small but were built with great precision and creativity. Many structures have intricate carvings on their walls that depict scenes from daily life or significant religious events.

One of the most notable buildings is El Castillo (The Castle) which stands tall at 39 feet (12 meters) above sea level. This iconic structure is believed to have been a temple dedicated to the god of wind.


The Mayans abandoned Tulum in the 16th century, possibly due to disease or invasion by Spanish conquistadors. The city was left deserted and forgotten for centuries until it was rediscovered by archaeologists in the early 20th century.


In conclusion, Tulum was once home to the ancient Mayan civilization, one of the most advanced civilizations in Mesoamerica. Today, visitors can explore the ruins of this once-great city and marvel at its remarkable architecture and fascinating history. Tulum remains a testament to the incredible achievements of the Mayans and their enduring legacy.