Chichen Itza, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Chichen Itza is an ancient maya city located between Valladolid and Merida in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Classified world heritage of UNESCO and named as one of new 7 Wonders of the world in 2007, after a controversial vote organized by the New Seven Wonders Foundation. The presence of the city in this place is due to 2 water wells (cenotes) because it is a region devoid of water and owes its name to this source of underground water ‘Chi’ means ‘mouth’ and ‘Chén’ means ‘well’ and ‘Itzá’ means ‘water’s wizard ‘ in maya. Its history remains unclear. The first traces of occupation and construction dates from the 8th or 9th century. There are the southern sector or old Chichén, whose buildings are close to those of the cities of Uxmal, Kabah and Labná and the northern sector dedicated to Kukulkan (the feathered serpent), with larger buildings, the difference suggests that the styles have come one after the other. In the North section there is the great pyramid ‘Castillo’ (24 metres high), the observatory’Caracol’, the great field of ball game, the sacred cenote, the ossuary, the group of thousands columns and the temple of warriors. In the southern sector the buildings are more modest: the Casa Colorada (Red House), the Casa del Venado (the Deer House), the church and the nuns quadrangle. What remains is uniformly grey but there are traces that demonstrate that in another time the building were colourful. The ruins are surrounded by forest. The main building, the great pyramid, is linked to the astro-architecture, developed enough by the Maya. It has four sides each divided into nine trays with four stairs each with 90 steps, the orientation, and the construction of the pyramid are such that at the moment of the spring equinox and fall, the sun produces with the edges of the pyramid a drop shadow that makes believe that the large heads of snakes at the foot of the stairs of the pyramid are extended by the corrugated body of a snake. The great pyramid was erected over a smaller one, a very narrow tunnel whose entrance is located under the stairs can be accessed.

Tips

If you spend your holidays at Riviera Maya or nearby, you can buy an excursion at the reception of your hotel with guide in your language. Notice that depending on the location of your hotel, you should wait until they will come pick you up with the bus and it will be the same for the return.
Another possibility is to rent a car, allowing you to visit the ruins in complete freedom. Don’t forget to bring sunglasses to protect you from the sun and water or juice or fruit. Depending on the season you visit the ruins , protect yourself also with sunscreen.
Sports shoes or comfortable ones are required.

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