Chichen Itza is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It is located in Tinum Municipality, Yucatan State, Mexico. It was one of the largest cities built by the Maya people. "Chichen Itza" is a Maya name. It means "At the mouth of the well of the Itza". It is also called "El Castillo" which in Spanish language means "the castle".
24 Interesting Chichen Itza Facts
- The design and layout of Chichen Itza was precisely planned. All the temples and pyramids were constructed in clusters. The 4 well known clusters are the Great North Platform, the Central Group, the Old Chichen and the Ossario Group.
- The city of Chichen Itza was constructed on an area of approximately 5 square kilometers and the buildings of the city were made of stones.
- It is said that Chichen Itza was built close to two large natural sinkholes as there were no rivers or other water sources close to this area. The 2 sinkholes were capable of providing water throughout the year. One of the sinkholes was used as a place of human sacrifice in times of drought. The sacrifice was made to the Chac God, the Maya God for rains to end the drought.
- Archaeologists suggest that between 900 AD and 1050 AD, Chichen Itza expanded and became the regions capital controlling most parts of the Northern and Central Yucatan peninsula.
- All the four sides of the El Castillo have 91 steps. Adding all these steps and including the temple platform of the temple as the final step, the total count comes to 365. It represents the number of days in Maya calendar year.
- Chichen Itza and the other temple cities built by the Maya people were positioned according to a regional sacred geography.
- Chichen Itza has a platform dedicated to the planet Venus located north of El Castillo.
- There are around 13 ball courts for playing the Mesoamerican ballgame in Chichen Itza. The Great Ball Court is the most impressive of all. It is 225 feet wide and 545 feet long. It has no discontinuity between the walls, has no vaults and is totally open to the sky.
- People and legends say that the winning captain would present his own head to the losing captain. The losing captain would cut off the winning captain's head. Quite frightening and not easy to understand, but it was the ultimate reward. The Mayan's believed that the winning captain would get direct entry to heaven, while others had to go through 13 high steps in order to reach a peaceful heaven.
- Las Monjas is one of the more notable structures at Chichen Itza. It is a complex of Terminal Classic constructions built in the Puuc architectural style.
- El Caracol was one of the most important temples in Chichen Itza. Archaeologists suggest that it served as a proto-observatory. Its door and window were aligned to astronomical events.
- Kukulkan pyramid is one of the most visited and famous sites in Chichen Itza. The height of the pyramid is 30 meters. The Osario is quite similar, but is smaller in size and has an opening to a natural cave at its center.
- There is a complex called The Temple of the Warriors consisting of large stepped pyramid fronted and flanked by carved columns depicting warriors.
- The acoustical design of Chichen Itza was phenomenal and is being studied even today. If you clap your hands in front of the pyramid's staircase, it returns an echo that resembles Quetzalcoatl's chirp - a feathered serpent deity. Also, if you clap once from one end of the Ball Court, it will give rise to 9 echoes distinctly at the center of the court.
- It is said that Chichen Itza was an important pilgrimage place for the Maya people.
- Chichen Itza was abandoned by its resident's around 1400s. No precise reason or explanation is given regarding this, but droughts and shortage of water could be one of the reasons.
- The place where Chichen Itza is located was privately owned until 29 March 2010, when it was bought by the state of Yucatan.
- The best time to visit Chichen Itza is from the month of November to April when the weather is warm and sunny.
- It is one of the most visited ancient sites in Mexico and attracts more than million tourists every year.
- Chichen Itza is divided into two different areas: Chichen Viejo and Chichen Nuevo.
- Chichen Viejo was established around 400 AD.
- Until January 2006, the tourists were allowed to climb El Castillo.
- UNESCO declared Chichen Itza a world heritage in 1988.
- Chichen Itza's majority sites are known for strange sounds.
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