Last Updated: 16th Feb 2011
Chichen Itza is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. The site is on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico and as well as being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it has also been voted one of the 7 Wonders of the Word.
Although the most famous structure of the site is a Mayan pyramid, the whole area displays a wide variety of building styles, temples, palaces and architecture from the regions past.
Residing amongst what is essentially a desert environment, Chichen Itza exists where it does because of natural sinkholes that gave its ancient inhabitants access to underground water.
The city emerged as a major Mayan settlement around 600 AD and continued to be a major city for at least another 400 years before its eventual decline.
Dominating the site is the main step pyramid of Chichen Itza – the Temple of Kukulkan – also known as The Castle (or El Castillo). The pyramid was built somewhere between the 11th and 13th Centuries and has 365 stairs representing the 365 days of the year while there are also many other amazing design features of this structure that highlight the advanced state of the Mayan civilization.
The site is also home to the Temple of the Warriors, games arenas, temples, observatories and many other wonders of the ancient Mayan people.
People travel to Mexico just to experience this ancient wonder and Contiki Tours in Mexico include a guided tour of the ruins of Chichen Itza.