Chichen Itza, Maya ruïnes complex

Chichen Itza Travel Blog

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Temple of Kukulkan, Chichen Itza

An absolute must in our journey was the visit of the old Maya town of Chichén Itzá, which means 'at the mouth of the well of the Itza'. It is on the world inheretance list of UNESCO, and in 2007 considered as one of the 7 world wonders of the world. The city dates probably of 987 and was from great importance in the late Maya-empire. In lies in the North of Yucatan. The city is founded by emperor Topiltzin, alltough the latest axcavations probably say that this complex is older and perhaps is conquered by this emperor in 987. Anyway, you need a couple of hours to see everything of this complex.

First we went to the North Platform to visit the Piramid of Kukulkan, also called 'El Castillo'. This is the highlight of the complex, a step piramid with a plan of square terraces with stairways up each of the 4 sites to the temple of the top.

Temple of Kukulkan
I can say: 'the stairways are very style, and there was a rope to climb downsite which is very usefull'. And: 'the view from this piramid is breath-taking'. All the truth. But, unfortunately, this temple is closed since 2006. You cannot climb this piramid any more, like I did in 2004.

Also a must is the great ball court just in front of the piramid. This court is used for playing the Mesoamerican ballgame. This is the largest ball game court in ancient Mesoamerica. At the base of the high interior walls are slanted benches with sculpted panels of teams of ball players. In one panel, one of the players has been decapitated and from the wound emits seven streams of blood; six become wriggling serpents and the center becomes a winding plant. Still they don't know for sure if the winner was decapitated (if it was an honour to be offered for the Gods) or the looser.

Temple of Kukulkan
At one end of the Great Ball Court is the North Temple, popularly called the Temple of the Bearded Man. Built into the east wall are the Temples of the Jaguar.

The Temple of the Warriors complex consists of a large stepped pyramid fronted and flanked by rows of carved columns depicting warriors. This complex indicates some form of cultural contact between the two regions. This one at Chichen Itza, however, was constructed on a larger scale. At the top of the stairway on the pyramid’s summit and leading towards the entrance of the pyramid’s temple is a Chac Mool. I took a picture from it at the top of the Piramid of Kukulkan.

In the Central Group on this complex there is  round building on a large square platform nicknamed El Caracol or "the snail" for the stone spiral staircase inside.

Temple of the Warriors
The structure, because of its unusual placement on the platform and round shape, is theorized to be a proto-observatory with doors and windows aligned to astronomical events, specifically around the path of Venus as it traverses the heavens.

Chichen Itza is a must, even if you stay for a beach holiday in Cancun. It is possible to visit it as a day trip from Cancun, and I don't think that will be a dissappointment.

We visited this complex to whole afternoon. Then we moved on to Merida.

 

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Temple of Kukulkan, Chichen Itza
Temple of Kukulkan, Chichen Itza
Temple of Kukulkan
Temple of Kukulkan
Temple of Kukulkan
Temple of Kukulkan
Temple of the Warriors
Temple of the Warriors
El Caracol
El Caracol
Chichén Itza
Chichén Itza
Chichen Itza
photo by: ellechic