Chichen Itza is located in Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico and is the second most popular tourist site in all of the Mexico after the ‘Teotihuacan’ Pyramid of the Sun. It was included in the list of ‘New Seven Wonders of the World’ list of 2007. The Chichen Itza was built by Mayan people in 600 A.D., where they established one of the biggest colony of Mayan people, which flourished till the 1221 A.D before the power shifted to Mayapan.
- 1 Chichen Itza Interesting Facts
Chichen Itza Interesting Facts
Chichen Itza is originally a pilgrimage place for the Mayan peoples. They were settled in Yucatan centuries before the Spanish conquest. The Chichen Itza in Mayan’s language transforms to “At the mouth of the wall of the Itza.” One possible meaning for the word “Itza” can be “enchanter of the water”.
Mayan people may have built the Chichen Itza at where it stands because of the two natural sink holes located nearby, these water bodies would have provided water to Mayan people year-round.
Some of the facts indicates that the pre-Columbian Mayans used to sacrifice various objects and human beings into the nearby sinkholes, also known as Cenotes, which they considered as a form of worship to the Maya god of rain ‘Chaac’. The fact that humans were sacrificed was supported by the survey done by the Edward Herbert Thompson on the Cenote Sagrado, from which he recovered various artifacts of gold, pottery, and human remains as well.
The Chichen Itza became one of the largest Mayan city that ever existed and was often referred to as the mythical city of Mayans. The architectural style of the Chichen Itza is a prove of how innovative and advance the Mayan people were from their other peers.
The first design of Chichen Itza site developed in the earlier days of the establishment of Mayans in Yucatan around 750 AD. The final layout of the Chichen Itza was developed in the 900 AD, and by the end of the 10th century, there was a significant rise in the city controlling the area that extends from Central Yucatan to the North Coast.
The Mayans were a big fan of astronomy and made Chichen Itza as an observatory to observe the astronomical movement of sun and events. Earlier, it is said to be discovered by a priest, who goes by the name of Lakin Chan (another name ‘Itzamna’). The American explorer John L. Stephens re-discovered the Chichen Itza back in the 1841 and re-introduced the world with the Mayan culture and knowledge.
Surrounding Architecture of Chichen Itza
This Mayan structure has a huge area and is surrounded by the various structure including the pyramid of Kukulkan, the Temple of Chac Mool (a term used to describe statuary found in Mesoamerica), and the Hall of the Thousand Pillars, is an exceptional collection of architecture all around the Chichen Itza. The El Castillo or the Chichen Itza itself is probably the greatest of all Mayan Temples and sculptures. The Puuc-style architecture can be seen in the Chichen area.
Dimension of the El Castillo Pyramid
Occupying a space of 4 square miles, the Chichen Itza is oriented 19 degrees towards the East from the true North. The square base of the pyramid measures 55 meters across. Their are a total of 365 steps in the pyramid which showcases the 365 days of a year. The Chichen Itza has a height of 30 metres with a 6-metre tall temple upon the top of the pyramid.
Material used for the construction by the Mayans
All the buildings of Chichen Itza including the Chac Mool. the Temple of the Warriors, Las Monjas, El caracol, and the Casa Colorado are all built from the stone. It’s also said that the Mayans made no use of wheels while constructing their temples, palaces, and pyramids. The inner layer of some of the pyramids was of mica that came from Brazil, 3220 km away without the use of any wheeled transportation. Some of them were also covered with stucco.
Location of Chichen Itza
The site where the Chichen Itza is built and located was privately owned until March 2010, after that it was purchased by the state of Yucatan. The main portion of Chichen Itza was said to be expanding up to 5 square kilometres, with some claiming it to be extending even further. It is located in Yucatan, Mexico.
The Chichen Itza had around 50,000 people, which was the most diverse population in any Maya population situated anywhere. The Mayan people were very highly skilled building construction, stone-masons, craftsmen, jewellers and potters.
Another Step Pyramid and Temple
An another step pyramid called the Osario, which is very familiar to the El Castillo, the only difference between the two is of the size. A natural cave can be accessed through an opening in the center of the Osario.
The Temple of Warrior is an another amazing architectural building that stood in Chichen Itza. It includes a large stepped pyramid with rows of pillars standing in the front like warriors.
Even though the Mayan empire of Chichen Itza had fallen before the time Spanish Conquistadors arrived, it was not completely abandoned.
Reconstruction measures for preservation
In 1923, the Mexican government commenced the first reconstruction project for the Chichen Itza, and the restoration was handled by the Carnegie Institution of America. As the part of preservation process and for the safety of people, in 2006, the stairs were closed for the visitors.