Chichén Itzá is pronounced “CHEE-chen EET-za”, but did you know this world heritage site, located in Mexico, once centred around the lives of the Mayan Empire in Central America? This incredibly complex stone structure reveals a huge insight into the Mayan’s visions of the Universe, and is also now one of the new Seven great Wonders of the World.
This was one of the greatest Mayan Centres in Mexico
The word “Chichen Itza”, also called “El Castillo”, means “The Castle” in Spanish
The Temple of Kulkulkan, is the most well-known structure in Chichen Itza.
It’s believed to have been erected between the 9th and 12th centuries and is an important observatory for astronomical events
Archaeologists believe that the doors and windows aligned to astronomical events, and especially Venus as it leads to the heavens.
It’s 24m in height, with an additional 6m for the temple. The square base measures 55.3m along with 365 steps to represent the 365 days of the year
The materials of Chichen Itza are entirely made from stone
It’s also believed that the Mayan’s did not use the wheel to build any of their temples, pyramids or palaces.
The city had quite a diverse population in any Maya population, with approx 50,000 people
These people were very skilled craftsmen, sculptors, weavers, jewellers and potters.
They had a ball court that measured 168 metres long and 70 metres wide (the largest known in the Americas)
During ball games, people had to hit a 5.4kg rubber ball through stone with losers facing death – yikes!
It it believed that during the 1400s, people completely abandoned Chichen Itza for the jungle, leaving behind historical pieces of architecture and art
There are two great cenotes at the site
Known as the Cenote Sagrado or Sacred Cenote, and the Xtoloc.
It IS one of the driest areas of Southeast Mexico
Located in a dry tropical forest and covered with thin soils, this is an environment where drought is prevalent.
It’s the second most visited sight in Mexico with over 2.1 million visitors every year
And considered to be one the Seven Wonders of the New World