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Chichen Itza, Mexico
The historical past of Chichén Itzá just isn’t for the faint of coronary heart. These historical Mayan temple ruins in Mexico are shrouded in thriller and have a approach of haunting you lengthy after returning house.
When you lastly get previous a military of native distributors on the entrance, the traditional stone carvings of fearsome creatures and bloodthirsty warriors at Chichen Itza encourage awe and set off unease on the identical time.
This pre-Hispanic metropolis (and UNESCO World Heritage Site) has an enchanting 1,000-year-old historical past. It’s the second most visited archaeological web site in Mexico, partly as a consequence of its shut proximity to Cancun.
Positioned within the Yucatan Penninsula, the ruins are intensive and canopy 740 acres. Many sections have nonetheless by no means been excavated.
Whereas wandering across the huge archaeological web site, I stored questioning what hidden treasures lay undiscovered beneath my ft.
My Chichen Itza Journey Information
Historical past Of Chichen Itza
One factor that makes the Chichen Itza so intriguing, apart from the large stone pyramid, is the mysterious decline of the Maya individuals themselves.
By the point of the Spanish conquest of the Maya, this nice metropolis and others prefer it had been just about ghost cities.
Historians have a number of theories as to why. Overpopulation could have depleted environmental sources. An ideal drought or one other disaster could have worn out the civilization.
Competing city-states had been always at battle too — the Maya could have merely performed themselves in.
In any case, Mexico’s most well-known ruins are astonishingly well-restored web site in comparison with different Mayan ruins within the area. Which is why it’s thought of one of many New 7 Wonders Of The World.
Journey Video: Mysterious Chichen Itza
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El Castillo Pyramid
When you enter Chichen Itza, you possibly can’t miss the 98-foot tall pyramid Temple Of Kukulkan (aka “El Castillo”) which dominates the northern a part of the town. Not as giant because the pyramids of Giza, however spectacular nonetheless!
Kukulkan is a feathered snake deity within the Mayan faith. The pyramid is guarded by huge carved serpent heads on the base of the steps.
The Mesoamerican fascination with stars and planets imply the pyramid’s 4 stairways characterize the 4 factors of a compass. There are 365 steps too, one for every day within the photo voltaic calendar.
9 terraces most likely symbolize the Maya perception in a nine-level heaven too.
In the event you REALLY need a deal with, go to El Castillo in March or September throughout the annual equinoxes. At sundown, a play of sunshine and shadow creates the eerie impact of a snake regularly slithering down the staircase…
Scientists just lately found this pyramid actually has two more pyramids inside it.
Temple Of The Warriors
The Temple Of The Warriors is one other spectacular construction at Chichen Itza. A few of the 200 columns on the south facet depict warriors in bas-relief.
The columns as soon as supported a roof system that’s lengthy gone.
Also referred to as the Corridor of the Thousand Columns, this grand house might need been a gathering place or an indoor market.
A Chac Mool tops the broad staircase, distinctive statues discovered all through the Yucatan Peninsula. Reclining figures holding bowls with their heads turned at a 90-degree angle and propped on their elbows.
They may characterize temple guardians or slain warriors bearing items to Chac, the god of rain.
In Maya spiritual ceremonies, stone dishes most likely held choices corresponding to incense, tobacco, tamales or tortillas. In Aztec rituals, they extra doubtless held human hearts.
The Maya Ball Court docket
Off to the left of the primary pyramid, you’ll discover the famed Maya ball court docket. Whereas many websites embody ball courts, the one at Chichen Itza is the biggest on the earth.
Maya athletes performed a sport the place the thing was to place a rubber ball (representing the solar) right into a small stone circle perched very excessive on a wall, with out utilizing your fingers OR ft.
Some carvings counsel that the successful workforce’s captain was decapitated, which was an indication of honor. The ball sport is over 3,500 years previous, making it the primary organized sport within the historical past of sports activities.
A few of the video games had been performed to resolve arguments between rival cities or as a substitute for all-out battle.
Cenote De Los Sacrificios
Chichen Itza means “mouth of the properly of Itza” within the native Maya language. One doable translation of Itza is “enchanted water.” The Yucatan is roofed in cenotes — distinctive limestone sinkholes that type pure swimming pools.
Cenotes have deep non secular significance for the Maya. Many students imagine Chichen Itza was constructed solely due to the massive cenote positioned right here, which offered individuals with recent water.
Cenote de los Sacrificios (also referred to as the Sacred Cenote) measures about 200 ft throughout with sheer cliffs that drop to the water’s floor. Throughout extreme droughts, worshippers tried to appease their rain god Chac by sacrificing particular objects or individuals (!) they weren’t very keen on.
Dredging this cenote uncovered hundreds of artifacts product of gold, jade and copper. Quite a few human skeletons with sacrificial wounds littered the depths as properly…
Extra Cool Archeological Buildings
Tzompantli means “wall of skulls,” and this subsequent attraction lives as much as its title. The big platform supported stakes on which decapitated human heads had been impaled on high of one another.
The unlucky victims had been enemies defeated in battle or prisoners of battle sacrificed to the gods. Whimsical cranium carvings across the base are a pleasant contact.
This exhibit would have scared the dwelling daylights out of would-be enemies.
A extra elaborate platform close by is named Home of the Eagles. Its motif is equally creepy. Eagles and jaguars, symbolizing Toltec sacrificial warriors depicted clutching human hearts.
One of the vital fascinating buildings is El Caracol, which functioned as an observatory. There are a lot of extra fascinating stops at Chichen Itza, so plan to spend a minimum of 3 – four hours to see all of it.
Swimming In Cenotes Close by
When you can’t swim within the cenote at Chichen Itza itself (except you need to be part of the skeletons on the backside!) there are others close by the place you possibly can.
The closest cenote, and hottest with tour buses, is known as Ik Kil. Whereas it’s a reasonably one, it’s all the time full of individuals and looks like a vacationer lure. I’d most likely skip it.
If you would like a extra genuine cenote expertise, I’d suggest cooling off within the cenotes close to the city of Valladolid. These embody Cenote Zaci, Cenote Dzitnup, or Cenote Suytun.
Getting To The Ruins
CANCUN – Chichen Itza is 197 km (2.5 hours) from Cancun by automotive.
PLAYA DEL CARMEN – The ruins are 181 km (2 hours) from Playa del Carmen.
MERIDA – Chichen Itza is 119 km (1.5 hours) from Merida by automotive.
VALLADOLID – Chichen Itza is 45 km (45 minutes) from Valladolid by automotive.
RentalCars.com searches all the large automotive rental corporations and finds one of the best worth. That is most likely the simplest approach to hire a automotive in Mexico.
In the event you’re on the lookout for a extra adventurous route, the “libre” street runs parallel to the primary toll freeway and goes via a bunch of smaller villages for a extra genuine really feel of Mexico.
Parking your individual rental automotive at Chichen Itza prices $30 MXN ($1.50 USD) per day.
Mexican ADO Bus Service from Cancun to Chichen Itza prices about $202 MXN ($9) a technique and takes Three hours. From Valladolid, there’s bus service each 30 minutes for about $26 MXN.
Colectivos (shared taxis) depart the city of Valladolid from so much simply east of the bus station and value about $35 MXN ($2 USD).
Chichen Itza Excursions
In the event you’re the kind of one that prefers becoming a member of a tour, there are guided tours of the Chichen Itza Ruins, a few of which start from Cancun and embody transportation to the positioning.
Chichen Itza Conservation Applications
A gaggle of scientists from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) has been researching the existence of a second construction positioned inside the Kukulkan pyramid. They discovered the pyramid-within-a-pyramid utilizing three-dimensional electrical tomography.
It’s believed the present construction was constructed on high of the opposite one. Each sit on high of an underground cenote cave stuffed with water. Archaeologists proceed finding out the positioning, and also you could possibly see a few of their excavations as we did behind the primary pyramid.
Suggestions For Visiting Chichen Itza
- Chichen Itza Tickets price $242 MXN ($11 USD). In the event you pay in money, solely pesos are accepted, however you’ll save 10% as a result of bank cards price further.
- You’ll be able to hire a baggage locker at Chichen Itza for $40 MXN to carry giant baggage or valuables.
- Chichen Itza has a “mild & sound present” that begins at 7pm within the fall and winter or 8pm within the spring and summer time. It’s included within the worth of admission.
- Attempt to go to very first thing within the morning once they open, or late within the afternoon to keep away from the large tour-bus crowds.
- Contemplate splurging on a guided tour. There are data plaques at every attraction, however nothing just like the perception you’ll get from an area information.
- Vacationers can not climb to the highest of the Kukulkan Pyramid as a consequence of UNESCO standing and some deaths through the years from falling.
- The solar is unrelenting. Put on a hat, apply sunscreen and take loads of water. If doable, arrive as quickly because the gates open within the morning.
- The mediocre meals on-site is dear. You will get a lot better stuff down the road on the village of Pisté for lots much less.
- Keep away from the distributors promoting souvenirs on the entrance. Sure, vacationers help their livelihood, however a lot of them sneak in with out authorization, and it’s change into a little bit of a circus.
Chichen Itza Map
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