Updated May 25, 2023
About Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza is one of the new seven wonders of the world. The northern part of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is home to this collection of Mayan ruins. It was a bustling city in the pre-Colombian periods, home to several Mayans from different ethnic backgrounds. The iconic pyramid, which monopolizes the location’s center, is one of the numerous historic Mayan buildings still present today. The central portion of the Chichen Itza complex is about 5 square kilometers (1.9 square miles), and nearby residential structures can see for quite a long past that point.
Maya was an astronomical architect who used his cosmic powers to build settlements he could rule over. He hurled gifts of emerald and gold as well as blood martyrdom, as evidenced by the discovery of remains, into a gigantic sinkhole known as the Sacred Cenote, also known as the “mouth of the well of the Itza,” which gave rise to the title Chichen Itza. Although the site’s origins remain unclear, it settled between 250 and 900 CE.
Findings of products from other parts of Mesoamerica, such as jade from the north, golden discs from the south, and ebony from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, provide indications that Chichen Itza was a prosperous commercial hub with a harbor at Isla Cerritos. The settlement likely controlled the prosperous salt beds on the nearby northern shore, while cacao farming was widely practiced and recognized.
Around 1200 CE, it began to deteriorate, and Mayapán replaced it as the capital. On the contrary, Chichen Itza remained cherished and respected as a home of lineage and worship well into the Postclassic era and even afterward, unlike all the alternative places, and it did not vanish from history.
Why was Chichen Itza Built?
It was more than just a place of worship and celebration. It served as a skilled urban center and a primary trading hub for the area. Maya wanted his settlement to be the most powerful in the city, but Chichen Itza became more than that.
In the ninth century, when the Mayan settlements got deserted, the people restructured into sparsely populated centers or relocated northward. It comprised elegant pavilions where they cultivated the sciences and the arts. Around this time, the Mayans established new settlements on the Yucatan peninsula, many of which included elements of central Mexican architecture. The much more significant of these is Chichen Itza, whose structures and sculptures are evocative of the city of Tula. Many areas of Chichen Itza still hold these ruins as a sign of a rich cultural past. From power to trade, Chichen Itza became the most significant hub of its time.
Architecture and Design
The magnificent structure, in its entirety, shows a lot about the Maya and Toltec conception of the cosmos, which closely connects to what was apparent in the Yucatán Peninsula. The Temple of Kukulkan, sometimes called El Castillo, is the most well-known building in this area. This magnificent pyramid shows the precision and significance of Maya’s astronomy and the strong impact of the Toltecs, whose invasion caused a fusion of the two traditional cultures.
There are 365 steps in the temple, one for every day of the year. The summit deck is visible after climbing 91 steps across every four temple sides. The ball court at Chichen Itza is 168 meters long by 70 meters, making it the biggest one of its kind in the Caribbean.
What is there to do at Chichen Itza?
There are several fun and informative things you can do at Chichen Itza.
Some of them are:
- Hire a guide to explain the complete history behind the Mayan Site of Tulum.
- Take an afternoon tour of the yellow city, Izamal. Make sure to remain hydrated and prepared. There are many restaurants that you can rest at while on your journey.
- You must visit the Celestun Biosphere Reserve in the city of Celestun and remember to see its pink flamingos.
- Be at the Chichen Itza sound and light show at night. The nighttime temperature remains very pleasant, and you can enjoy the serenity of the show with a smooth breeze on your hair.
Interesting Facts about Chichen Itza
- An image of a feathered snake is present in the Chichen Itza Pyramid. It is an image of Kukulcán, also renowned as Quetzalcóatl to the Maya. Quetzalcóatl, the feathered snake, is one of the main gods in historic Mexican mythology.
- It was a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988 for being “one of the most significant instances of the Mayan-Toltec civilization in Yucatán.”
- Spring and autumn equinoxes each year coincide with the sun casting the silhouette of a serpent on the pyramid of the Temple of Kukulkan.
- The conquerors would hew the heads of victims and soldiers into the walls of the Skull Platform or Skull Rack to intimidate opponents and maintain control over the masses.
However, If you are visiting Chichen Itza in Mexico, hire a professional guide who will assist you in exploring the historical site. It is a place of historical importance, and it would be imprecise to leave without having gained knowledge about the site and its several other structures. Moreover, This article was your guide toward the details of Chichen Itza. Packaging your bags and discovering all the context yourself is now up to you.