Chichen Itza is often called one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and rightfully so. This place is incredible. It’s another UNESCO World Hertiage site, and although I have been before, I’m looking forward to the return visit. I remember it as a hot place and that characteristic of this place seems to have remained the same.
Chichen Itza was a Pre-Columbian city built by the Maya people. It enjoyed a busy life, as it was one of the largest Mayan cities, from about 600- 1200 A.D. At the center of the ruins I am visiting today is the pyramid-like structure of El Castillo, the Castle.
It’s an enormous structure and it’s located in the heart of the grounds, towering over the rest of the ruins. It was a temple built in honor of Kukulkan, the Mayan snake god. Each of the 4 sides has a large staircase bounded on either side by a giant snake with the head at the base of the pyramid. On the spring equinox a shado is cast over most of the pyramid but light highlights a snake-like body all the way up the stairs to the top. Ingenious that it could have been engineered this way so many years ago.
There are the Temples of Warriors, The Platform of Venus, The Skull Platform…
There are carvings in the stone everywhere you look. I cannot imagine the time and work that went into building this city.
We walk the trail toward the Sacred Cenote. Cenotes are cave-like holes in the limestone rock on this peninsula that are filled with water. Many can be accessed for swimming and some open onto the sea. Cenotes are everywhere.
This one was used for ritual sacrifices though and as much as I have enjoyed seeing cenotes in the past, this one is eerie. Iguanas seem to guard its edges.
The Great Ball Court is enormous. It was used to play an ancient Mesoamerican ballgame. Carvings and relief panels located along the walls of the court show decapitation, which is rumored to be the reward for the losers. What a way to intimidate the visiting team…