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Top 10 Things to See In Chichen Itza

Things to See In Chichen Itza

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Chichen Itza is located in the Yucatan state and one of the best places to visit in Mexico. It is maintained by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (NIAH), Mexico. Chichen Itza is one amongst the most important Maya cities with various architectures of Maya ruins. The Maya name “Chichen Itza” means that “At the mouth of the well of the Itza.” Itza is the name of an ethnic-lineage cluster that gained political and economic dominance of the northern land. Chichen Itza is also one of the foremost visited archeologic sites in the United Mexican States with over 2.6 million visitors every year. The location contains several fine stone buildings like El Castillo, Temple of Warriors and the Great Ball Court etc. several of these stone buildings were originally painted in red, green, blue and purple colours making the location a colourful place. Chichen Itza was conjointly selected by the United Nations agency as World Heritage website in 1988 and it is the second-most visited archeologic site of United Mexican States. In 2007, Chichen Itza’s El Castillo was named as the New Seven Wonders of the world. Let me list down things to see in Chichen Itza,

Things to See in Chichen Itza

1. El Castillo

It is also known as the Temple of Kukulcan. One of the most beautiful ancient Mayan temples, El Castillo is a Mesoamerican pyramid in the centre of the Chichen Itza. The structure is 24 metre high, with an additional 6 metre for the temple. The pyramid consists of a series of square terraces with stairways on each of the four sides leading to the temple on top.  Each of the pyramid’s four sides has 91 steps. It is managed by the National Institute of Anthropology and History. Today “El Castillo” is one of the most recognized and widely visited pre-Columbian structures in Mexico. But, Climbing El Castillo was restricted to public access in 2006, because of a woman who fell to her death at this place.

Ancient Mayan ruins

2. 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 the best-preserved ball court in ancient Mesoamerica and it is the also largest ballcourt ever discovered in Mesoamerica. It is 225 feet wide and 545 feet long and has no vault, no discontinuity between the walls and is totally open to the blue sky. The court is made up of several components such as The Playing Field, the Northern and Southern temples, the Upper Temple of the Jaguar and the Lower Temple of the Jaguar which is visible also from outside the court.

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Related: 7 Most Amazing Pyramids in Mexico.

Things to See In Chichen Itza

Image Source: Wikimedia

3. The Temple of Warriors

The Temple of the Warriors is one of the most impressive and important structures at Chichen Itza. It is a large stepped pyramid that was named for the carved square columns depicting warriors. There are about 200 squared columns at the base of the temple’s main stairway. Each side of each column has a carved depiction of a Toltec warrior. The exterior wall of the Temple is adorned with many stone carvings of Kukulkan rising from the mouth of a serpent.

Things to See In Chichen Itza

Image Source: Wikimedia

4. The Sacred Cenote

It is also known as the “Well of Sacrifice”. The sacred cenote is a pre-Columbian Maya archaeological site of Chichen Itza. According to ethnohistoric sources, the Sacred Cenote was a place of pilgrimage for ancient Maya people who conduct sacrifices into it. Into this well, they have had the custom of throwing men alive as a sacrifice to their gods and they believed that they did not die even though they never saw them again. They also threw into it many precious things like gold, artefacts etc. Also, Also, read about incredible Facts About The Mayans that might surprise you.

Things to See In Chichen Itza

5. Tzompantli

It is a wooden skull rack, also known as a wall of skulls in Chichen Itza archaeological site which was used for the public display of human skulls, typically of warriors or other sacrificial victims. Archaeologists discovered the Tzompantli, with more than 650 skulls, in the archaeological zone of the Mayan temple in Mexico City. Previously it was believed that such a tower only include the skulls of male warriors conquered in battle, but in recent researches, the archaeologists also discovered the skulls of women and children as well.

Things to See In Chichen Itza

6. El Caracol

El Caracol, the Observatory unique structure is located at pre-Columbian Maya civilization site of Chichen Itza. The structure can be traced back to around 906 AD. El Caracol is a Spanish word which translates to “spiral-shaped” or “snail”, it is named after the winding staircase that rounds the interior of the building. It was believed that the El Caracol provides a way for the Mayan people to observe changes in the sky due to the flattened landscape of the Yucatan, in addition, they can also track the movements of Venus and thus measure the longer intervals of the Earth’s orbit. El Caracol can be easily accessed and is considered to be a major Mexican tourist attraction.

Things to See In Chichen Itza

Image Source: Wikimedia

7. Summer Solstices

This is another natural phenomenon that the Maya noted in their astronomical studies. The summer solstice on June 22nd is the longest day of the year and at noon the sun reaches the highest point in the sky and marks the exact moment of the seasonal change from spring to summer. In the Chichen Itza on June 22nd, the northern side of the Temple of Kukulcan becomes fully illuminated by the sun’s rays, whereas the Southern and the Westerly sides remain shaded by the temple itself. When seen from the sky, it appears as if the sun has divided the temple in half, with a perfect diagonal cut.

Things to See In Chichen Itza

Image Source: Wikimedia

8. Equinox

The name equinox means “equal night” in Latin. This is an extraordinary phenomenon in one of the most famous Mayan Ruins “Chichen Itza”. At Chichen Itza, twice a year i.e. on March 21st and September 23rd, one can witness Kukulkan’s descent at the pyramid. This spectacular view takes place during the spring and fall equinoxes when the days and nights last exactly 12 hours each. On the equinox, the sun of the late afternoon creates an illusion of a snake creeping slowly down towards the northern staircase. Thousands of people gather at Chichen Itza every year, to admire this astronomical view. The whole day has a carnival type atmospheres and visitors usually wear white clothes in order to get rid of “bad vibes” and attract positive energy from the new sun. It is one of the best things to see in Chichen Itza.

Things to See In Chichen Itza

Image Source: Wikimedia

9. Plaza of a Thousand Columns

The Plaza of a Thousand Columns also known as a group of thousand pillars is a group of a wide variety of buildings stretching seventy-six meters long. It is located towards the south of the Temple of Warriors and is filled with square and round columns that are likely to support grass roof. It was originally mentioned as the market because the early colonists felt that the design was similar to a Spanish marketplace. It is now used for both civic and religious purposes. There are two ball courts in this plaza however they are now roped off for the public access. Both were used by the elites of the city in ancient times.

Things to See In Chichen Itza

Image Source: Wikimedia

10. The Nunnery Complex

One of the best things to see in Chichen Itza, The Nunnery complex is the largest structure in Chichen Itza. The building is designed in the Chenes style, a style of local Yucatan. The main part of the Nunnery consists of a series of vaulted rooms seated, some of the rooms are abundantly decorated with mural paintings and mosaics. A jaguar throne and a stone altar used for human sacrifice are found in front of the building. The Nunnery is named for the Spanish visitors who, upon seeing a large number of rooms, we’re reminded of the cells of a monastery. Today, Most archaeologists believe that it was a palace for Maya royalty.

Things to See In Chichen Itza

Image Source: Wikimedia

These are the 10 things to see in Chichen Itza. Do post your comments.

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