Tulum is also the Yucatan Mayan word for fence, wall or trench. The walls surrounding the site allowed the Tulum fort to be defended against invasions. Tulum had access to both land and sea trade routes, making it an important trade hub, especially for obsidian. From numerous depictions in murals and other works around the site, Tulum appears to have been an important site for the worship of the Diving or
Descending god. Tulum had an estimated population of 1,000 to 1,600 inhabitants. Tulum was protected on one side by steep sea cliffs and on the landward side by a wall that averaged about 3–5 meters (9.8–16.4 ft.) in height. The wall also was about 8 m (26 ft.) thick and 400 m (1,300 ft.) long on the side parallel to the sea. The part of the wall that ran the width of the site was slightly shorter and only about 170 meters (560 ft.) on both sides. Constructing this massive wall would have taken an enormous amount of energy and time, which shows how important defense was to the Maya when they chose this site on the southwest and northwest corners there are small structures that have been identified as watch towers, showing again how well defended was the city. There are five narrow gateways in the wall with two each on the north and south sides and one on the westside Near the northern side of the wall a small cenote provided the city with fresh water.
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