If you’re here, it’s because you’re already read about the first five places you must visit in Chichen Itza (and if you haven’t read them, you can check them out here)
Continuing with today’s journey… you can’t miss The Church (La Iglesia, in Spanish), named as such by the Spaniards; possibly due to the fact that it’s located next to a nunnery. It is one of the oldest buildings in Chichen Itza.
Its two main top floors are decorated with Chac’s masks. The ones that stand out the most is that of a crab, a snail, a turtle and an armadillo, which represented the Maya Gods called Baca, the deity that held up the sky.
Another temple that must be on your list, is the Northern one, better known as the Temple of the Bearded Man: it is a building with detailed masonry and bas-reliefs, on its inner walls. A figure stands out in the middle of the building -after which it takes its name-, this figure has very peculiar carvings under the chin area, appearing to be facial hair. To the south, you’ll find an even bigger temple, unfortunately it’s completely in ruins (yes, my heart broke too!).
Unlike this large temple in ruins, the Colore House (La Casa Colorada in Spanish) is one of the best conserved buildings in Chichen Itza.
(We could tell you all about it, and describe every nook and cranny… Nonetheless it’s not the same as actually being there!)
In one of the chambers of this building, you’ll find carved hieroglyphs that make reference to Chichen Itza’s and Ek Balam’s rulers. Inscribed on its walls there is a date (869 AD), which could refer to the year it was built. Some experts consider the Colored House to have been an elitist residence (belonging to someone in the Maya elite).
But watch out! Not everything is about pyramids and archaeological structures, Chichen Itza also has a well that connects the Maya city -via a slight elevation- also known as the Sacred Cenote (El Cenote Sagrado in Spanish).
This large natural well, can be the reason why Chichen Itza is called as such, because it means the well of the Itzaes.
According to historians and researchers, this Sacred Cenote was used exclusively for ceremonies, where several people were sacrificed, since bones have been found, belonging to approximately 200 people.
Several vestiges and artifacts in gold, jade, copper, turquoise, obsidian stones, copal and incense, ceramic, rubber, have also been found in this well.
Another great thing about this cenote, is that there is a second karstic cave, right in the center of the cenote, which was used as a water fountain by residents. Wonderful, don’t you think?
And just like all good movies, stories or tales, we’ve left the best for last! One of the most astonishing and surprising things about Chichen Itza is the Kukulcan Temple, located in the open central patio of the entire grounds. This structure (the pyramid, also known as The Castle –El Castillo in Spanish-) was dedicated to Quetzalcoatl, the serpent feathered deity, and is one of the most famous pyramids of Mexico.
If you travel during the spring or autumn equinox, you will be able to witness this serpent feathered deity descend the pyramid. It’s a natural phenomenon unlike anything you’ve ever set eyes upon, which is formed with the natural sunrise and sunset, when the sun is positioned at specific spots and strikes the pyramid creating a shadow that resembles a snake, representing Quetzalcoatl, the Maya God.
As the sun moves throughout the day, the serpent descends slowly to the ground. A show that only the Mayas could give us, even thousands of years after their perish.
The Kukulcan temple also has several important references to the Maya Calendar,
But there is more…
Each one of the four sides of the pyramid has 91 steps, that if we add the all together, along with the top platform of the temple, we get 365; ergo the 365 days of the solar year.
And continuing with our daily dose of math and astronomy, each one of the 9 terraces of Kukulcan is divided in two, adding up to 18: the number of months in the Maya calendar! More references? The terraces have a total of 52 panels, referring to the 52 year cycle when the solar and religious calendars merge. Surprising, don’t you think? Now imagine visiting this fascinating site! In Land Savvy we provide personalized services, attention and private tours for you to encounter with this majestic place!