In the peninsula of Yucatan there is one of the largest archaeological cities of the Maya civilization: Chichen Itza. It combines Toltec and Maya influences and it is full of cosmological symbolism. The four sides of the main pyramid, El Castillo, contain 365 steps, 52 panels and 18 terraces. This archeological site is one of the most popular in Mexico and a not-to-miss tourist attraction for those who travel to Mexico.
Chichen Itza was a centre of pilgrimage for over 1000 years. It has a Cenote (a limestone sink hole) that was sacred to the ancient gods. In the year 987 A.D. a Toltec ruler from central Mexico came here and, allied with Mayans, made Chichen Itza the most powerful city of Yucatan. After the city declined, around the year 1200, it remained as a place of pilgrimage for the Maya people, until it was conquered by the Spanish in the 16th century.
Chichen Itza is located only two hours away from Cancun and one and a half hour away from Merida –capital of Yucatan-, and it is one of the favorite destinations for tourism in Mexico. Most people do a day-trip visit with many options for tours in Chichen Itza, but we recommend you to stay at least one night to enjoy all the nearby activities and to get familiar with the culture of the Mayan communities that live in this area. If you consider using the services of a guide you will get specific information about the history and the mystery of this ancient city, besides he/she can recommend you a place to stay over night and other facilities. Staying at a hotel in Cancun is also another good choice.
Some of the main structures of the archeological Chichen Itza are:
• The Pyramid of Kukulcan or El Castillo - This temple was dedicated to the Feathered Serpent God, Kukulcan.
• Interior Temple – Inside this temple it is the King Kukulcan's Jaguar Throne.
• Great Ballcourt – 7 courts to play the ballgame that evolved into the actual soccer game.
• Temple of the Jaguars – Inside it has a stone-made jaguar, feathered serpent columns and murals.
• Sweatbaths – Used to purify the mind, body and emotions.
• El Caracol – Circular temple that served as an astronomical observatory.
• The Nunnery Complex – It was the royal palace before the arrival of the Toltecs.
• Old Chichen – this group of buildings are separated from the centre of the site. They are part of the Maya Jungle Reserve and Nature Trails.
• Akab' Dzib - palace with hieroglyphic inscriptions
Other remarkable attractions of Chichen Itza are:
• Temple of the Warriors
• The Great Market
• Platform of the Skulls
• Cenote of Sacrifice
• High Priest's Grave
• The Red House
• House of Deer
• Temple of the Wall Panels
For more information about Chichen Itza, contact us and we will gladly send you further material about any subject of your interest. We will e-mail this information at no cost within 72 hours and it will be specific to your requirements.
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