Chichen Itza, Mexico




Chichen Itza is located at the northern tip of the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico. It is possibly the largest, famous and most accessible Mayan site which flourished between 750 and 1200 CE. The name “Chichen Itza” means “At the mouth of the well of the Itza.” The architecture reflects the amalgamation of both Mayan and Toltic civilizations which prevailed during that period. The Chichen Itza not only served as a religious and ceremonial site but it also was a hub of regional trade. It was one of the largest Mayan cities with much diversity in population which covered 5 sq km. Chichen Itza is considered to be one the Seven Wonders of the New World. This city was comprised of several structures each with its own importance. El Castillo, The Warrior’s Temple and The Great Ball Court are some of the famous buildings that have survived.


Architectural Structures

El Castillo (The Kukulkan Pyramid)

The best construction on Chichen Itza is the Kukulkan’s Pyramid. El Castillo is a 24 meters tall stepped pyramid with a square-base.  Each of the temple’s four sides has 91 steps which leads to a single square structure or a top platform which makes a total of 365, one step representing one day of the year. Each side is 58-9 metres wide, and it has nine levels. Kukulkan Pyramid was built for astronomical purposes and twice a year on the spring and autumn equinoxes, a shadow falls on the pyramid which gives an illusion of a creeping serpent. The top platform of the Kukulkan has two chambers which are decorated with jaguar relief panels and shields.

The Great Ball Court

The Mayans were great sportsmen and build huge ballcourts to play all their games. The Great Ballcourt of Chichen Itza is 225 feet wide and 545 feet long. It has no roof and is open to the sky . The walls ran continuously with raised ends. A whisper from end can be heard clearly  at the other end through all directions of the court.

The Temple of the Warriors

The Temple of the Warriors is one of the most impressive and important structures at Chichen Itza. It is a three-level pyramid built between 800 and 1050 CE. It has rows of carved columns in the front and on one side depicting warriors. The building at the top of the pyramid has a doorway framed with feathered-serpents and two chambers; one contained a chacmool and the other a throne. Along the south wall of the Temple of Warriors there are columns with carvings of soldiers in bas-relief. At the southeast is a small temple with carvings of gods, people, serpents and animals. The interior walls of the temple has wall paintings depicting scenes of warriors with captives, a lake, and houses.

Sacred Cenote  (Cenote Sagrado)

The Sacred Centone of Chichen Itza is a natural sinkhole that expose the water table to the surface. It is 60 metres (200 ft) in diameter which would have provided water throughout the year. Based on evidences this Centone is believed to have been used for human sacrifice. The sacrifices were made to the Chac God, the Maya God of rain and lightning.

In addition to these structures there are : The Osario pyramid, El Caracol (the observatory temple), Las Monjas complex, The Tzompantli or Skull Platform.
Chichen Itza was ababdoned during the 1400s, now it is one of the most visited archeological sites of Mexico.  An estimated 1.4 million tourists visit the ruins every year.
Chichen Itza Video

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