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Chichen Itza Mexico

The Pre-Hispanic City of Chichen-Itza was one of the most important and holy Mayan cities on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, and many different cultures have left their marks on the city over its nearly 1,000-year history. Stone structures and works of art from the Maya and Toltec cultures show how they saw the world and the universe. Chichen-Itza is one of the most important Mayan-Toltec sites in Yucatán because it blends traditional Mayan building techniques with new ideas from central Mexico.

Pre-Hispanic City of Chichen-Itza

Some of the buildings that are still standing are the Warriors’ Temple, El Castillo, and El Caracol, a circular observatory. Chichén Itzá is a 10 square kilometer, or 4 square mile, old Maya metropolis that has been destroyed. It is in the Yucatán state, in the south-central part of Mexico. At its peak, 35,000 people would have lived in this supposed religious, military, political, and economic center.

What does Itza mean

Around the year 550, the first people moved into the area, probably because cenotes, which are caves and sinkholes in limestone formations, made it easy to get water. Chichén Itzá is 150 kilometers (90 miles) east of Uxmal and 120 kilometers (75 miles) east of Mérida. The only source of water in the dry area around the landmark is in the Sacred Cenotes.

Itzá was the name of the Maya tribe that lived there. It got its name from the words “Chi” for mouths and “Chen” for wells, as well as the fact that there were two big cenotes nearby. The Maya people have lived on the Yucatán Peninsula since the preclassic period, which lasted from 1500 BCE to 300 CE.

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Sacred Cenote

Historians think that the Mayans were the ones who built Chichén Itza in the sixth century CE. The main early buildings are in the Puuc style, which is different from the styles of the southern plains in a number of ways. Some of the oldest buildings in the area south of the Main Plaza are the “Akabtzib,” which means “House of the Dark Writing,” the “Chichanchob,” which means “Red House,” the “Iglesia,” which means “church,” the “Casa de las Monjas,” which means “nunnery,” and the “El Caracol,” which means “the snail” telescope.

There is proof that outsiders came to Chichén in the 10th century after the Maya cities in the southern lowlands fell. Most likely, the Toltecs of central Mexico had a big impact on these Maya-speaking attackers, and they may have even told them what to do. It’s possible that the Itza, for whom the place is named, were the ones who came to take over.

However, some people accept the theory that Itzá came 200–300 years later. The attackers were in charge of building important landmarks like El Castillo, which means “the castle.” It is a pyramid that is 79 feet (24 meters) tall and stands over the main square. El Castillo has four sides, and each one faces a cardinal direction. Each side has 91 stairs, and when you add the stairs on the top platform, you get a total of 365 steps.

We all know that this whole framework is based on the number of days in the solar year. On the spring and fall equinoxes, when the sun goes down, its shade curves down the stairs like a snake. Quetzalcóatl was one of the most important gods in Mesoamerican religion. At the top of the tower, there is a carving of Kukulcán, which is a snake with feathers.

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During excavations of the nine-platform pyramid, a red jaguar throne covered in jade was found in an older building. “Tlachtli” is a ball game played on the biggest court in the Americas. In Mayan, “pok-ta-pok” is the name for Tlachtli. The length of this baseball field is 545 feet (166 meters), and the width is 223 feet (68 meters).

On the walls of the court, there are six sculptures that show the winning team holding the head of the losing team. At one end of the court, on the upper platform, is the Temple of the Jaguars. A mural inside shows soldiers surrounding a settlement. Sitting on the temple’s platform, north of the court, tourists may be able to hear a word from 150 feet (46 meters) away.


Even though Chichén Itzá had been abandoned for a long time in the middle of nowhere, the Maya still thought of it as a holy place. When excavations began there in the 19th century, it became one of the most important historical sites in Mexico. In 1988, it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The mythical Cult of the Cenote at Chichén involved sacrificing people to the rain god Chaac.

People were thrown into the main cenote of the city, which was at the very northern end of the ruin, along with money, jade, and other valuables. After buying the whole site in 1904, an American named Edward Herbert Thompson started digging in the cenote. He found skeletons and objects from sacrifices, which proved the story.

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The mythical Cult of the Cenote at Chichén involved sacrificing people to the rain god Chaac. People, gold and jade jewelry, and other valuables were thrown into the main cenote of the city, which was at the very northern end of the wreck. After buying the whole site, American Edward Herbert Thompson started digging in the cenote in 1904. He found skeletons and objects from sacrifices, which proved the story.

Chichen Itza Facts

  1. One of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Chichen Itza in Mexico, was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1988.
  2. Literally, “Chichen-Itza” means “the mouth at Itza’s spring.” People think that the name “Itza,” which comes from the Mayan words “Itz” for “magic” and “á” for “water,” means “water magicians.”
  3. El Castillo, also known as the Temple of Kukulkan, is the most famous pyramid in Chichen Itza. It was built on the base of an even older temple.
  4. Archaeologists think that Chichen Itza was a thriving city around the year 600 AD and that it was destroyed around the year 1000 AD.
  5. The temples and mounds of Chichen Itza were built in groups. This shows that the layout and design were well thought out.
  6. The four most famous groups are the (1) Great North Platform, (2) Ossario Group, (3) Central Group, and (4) Old Chichen, which is not open to the public. On the Great North Platform, the Kukulkan Pyramid, the Great Ball Court, and the Temple of the Jaguars are some of Chichen Itza’s most famous sights.
  7. On the Spring Equinox, which is in March, and the Autumn Equinox, which is in September, the sun’s rays cast a shade on the Kukulkan Pyramid that looks like a snake writhing down the stairs.
  8. There is a stage for Venus on the north side of the Kukulkan Pyramid. The Mayans were very serious about astronomy, so the movements of Venus were very important to them. These movements had an effect on the architecture of the old Mayan city of Uxmal.
  9. Even though the Kukulkan Pyramid is the most well-known and most often viewed, Chichen Itza has a number of other pyramids. The Osario is similar, but it is smaller and has a cave opening in the middle.
  10. Many of the places in Chichen Itza are known for the strange sounds they make. If you clap once from one end of the ball court and listen to the middle, you will hear nine sounds. When you clap in front of the Kukulkan Pyramid, the echo sounds like the snake’s chirp.
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