Chichen Itza

Chich Itza is the most visited of all of the Mayan cities. Chichen Itza was established in around the 4th century by early farmers and early structures were begun to be built in the 10th century. The city gradually became an early urban area now known as old Chichen.

In the 10th century, the Itzaes, most likely Toltecs, invaded from along the coast and were responsible for much of the architecture seen today. The Itzas worshipped the God of Rain, Kulkulcan, otherwise known as Quetzalcoatl in the rest of Mesoamerica.

Chichen Itza became a central worshipping city until it was conquered by Mayapan and was replaced as the capital and main worshipping center. Hence no further building occurred at Chichen Itza and remained a major worshipping site up until its conquering by the Spanish in the 16th century.

Chichen Itza, Mayan, Yucatan, Old Ruin

Modern Chichen Itza

Long gone are the days of parking next to the one room office and wandering about. Modern Chichen Izta’s entrance is modern and interesting to the newcomer. A guide may be hired or Chichen can be explored on your own. You should allow yourself a full day to explore Chichen dependent on your level of interest and knowledge.

It is suggested that you leave Merida, or Cancun, very early in order to arrive in the coolness of the morning and experience all of Chichen. Ideally, Stay at one of the many famed hotels nearby and enjoy Chichen at your own leisure and pace.

The Castillo de Kulkulcan

The Castle of Kulkulcan, built with four sides therefore not a pyramid, is a structure constructed full of symbolism. The Castle has four sides with four sets of stairways. Each stairway has 91 steps equaling 364 steps/days plus the temple therefore completing the 365 day solar calendar. The 9 terraces on each side of the stairs equals the 18 months of the solar/lunar calendar. The 52 panels on each side equal the Mayan century.

On the spring and fall equinox the sun strikes the tiers of the castle and casts a shadow of a serpent on the side of the north stairway and signifies the start of the Mayan new year. A tunnel was cut into the north stairs to allow tourist to enter and climb the stairs of an earlier structure to view the jaguar throne and temple.

El Caracol-The Observatory

The observatory, otherwise translated as the Snail, is where the Mayan observation on the celestial heavens aided them in the development of the modern day calendar.

El Cenote Sagrada

The great cenote, well, is a short 5 minute walk and is the site of many sacrifices and has been excavated and has rendered many artifacts of the period.

El Juego de Pelota

The ball court of Chichen is the best example of the game in the Yucatan. It has a temple at each end and the acoustics allows occupants of each temple to talk without difficulty. An adjoining temple for the losers, or winners, for the purpose of sacrifice is connected outside of the ball court.

Travel to Chichen Itza

Travel to Chichen can be accomplished in a multitude of avenues. Ideally, pay a taxi to take you and return or take the ADO first class. It is recommended that you spend the night and enjoy the complete Chichen experience. Explore Chichen during the cool of the morning and return for the light and sound show in the night.


Other Destinations with Ancient Mayan Temples

Return from Chichen Itza to Mexico Vacation Planner

Return from Chichen Itza to Yucatan-Life.com

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