Chichen Itza

Ruins of The Americas | | May 20, 2009 at 6:00 pm


chichen-itza-observatoryChichen Itza which means ‘At the mouth of the well of Itza’ is one of the most visited pre-Columbian archaeological sites in the Yucatan Peninsular in Mexico. It was one of the key cities and the focal point of the Mayan Civilization. Sometimes Chichen Itza is also referred in the ancient archives as Uucyabnal which means ‘Seven Great Rulers’. The site contains many buildings including temples, palaces, stages, markets, baths, and ballcourts. In the heart of Chichen is the El Castillo or the Temple of Kukulkan. It is a step pyramid and has stairways on all four sides. During spring and autumn equinox the rising and the setting sun the structure casts a shadow in the shape of a plumed serpent.

One can see the entire archeological site after climbing to the top of the pyramid. Much of the site is still engulfed in the forest and yet to be excavated.

Other important structures in the site include Great Ball Court which is 166 meters long and 68 meters wide. The Temple of the Warriors and the Temple of the Jaguar are two massive temple structures which are surrounded by hundred of columns. Tzompantli is a low flat platform surrounded by carved depictions of human skulls and reminds visitors that human sacrifice was a significant part of the Mayan culture and rituals. Cenote Sagrado is a natural sinkhole and has a diameter of 60 meters. It was also a pilgrimage site for the Mayan’s.

Caves of Balankanche are located at a distance of 4 kilometers on the west of the Chichen Itza. The caves have now been converted into a museum display some of the ancient pottery and idols. These have been preserved and left in the same position where they were left in the pre-Columbian times. Some of the other prominent structures in the archeological site are Platform of the Eagles and the Jaguars, Platform of Venus, Sacbe Number One, Steam Bath, El Mercado, Ossario, Temple of Xtoloc, House of the Metates, House of the Mestizas, Las Monjas, El Caracol, Akab Dzib and Las Monjas.

Chichen Itza has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988. It was also voted in the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007.


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1 Comment

  1. vareeja says:

    The platform of Venus is dedicated to the planet Venus. In its interior archaeologists discovered a collection of large cones carved out of stone, the purpose of which is unknown

    The Steam Bath is unique building; has three parts: a waiting gallery, a water bath, and a steam chamber that operated by means of heated stones.

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