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Chichen Itza Ruins
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Carr. 180 Tulum-Valladolid-Piste, Mérida, México - Chichen Itza Ruins Map

The archaeological site of Chichén ltzá (at the mouth of the well of the Itza) is also called the city of the sorcerers of the water. This great Mayan city founded in 435, will see its peak during the classical period, between 600 and 900 a.d.; the style Puuc monuments date from this period.

City of secondary importance during the classical period of the Mayan civilization in the Yucatan, abandoned around the year 900, Chichén-Itzá played during the first two centuries of the second millennium the role of a brilliant political and religious capital. Non-Mayan invaders, the Itzá, from the central plateau and the Gulf coast under the command of Toltec leaders, made Chichen Itza the center of an empire that included the entire northern part of the peninsule.

The heyday of the new dynasty, marked by a new architectural style, will see the appearance of the serpent god Kukulcan. The city will again be abandoned to 1185-1250, probably as a result of a conflict between Uxmal, and Chichén Itzá Mayapan.

The decadent Mayan Centers didn’t reach North Yucatan until 150 years later in which the Puuc style was developed like in cities of Uxmal, Sayil, Kabah and Chichén Itzá; however, these towns fell around the year 1000 a.d. with the exception of Chichen Itza which began an age of power in all its splendor and culminated in the first centralized state of Mayan history.

The arquitecture of the Mayan era was as special as the Greek, Roman or Gothic. It has its local touches but fundamentally its surrounded by its unique nature. In Chichen Itza’s architecture you can appreciate the fusion of two Mayan styles: The Puuc and the Toltec. On each of its buildings we can observe the finesse and delicately sculpted figures that represented all of the most important Mayan gods: Chaac and Kukulkan among others.

The equinox its a unique archeoastronomical phenomenom which occurs when the earth is illuminated by the sun equally on the northern and southern hemisphere. At dusk of the 21st of March and 22nd of September, when the spring and fall equinoxes occur, one can observe on the northern castle stairs of Chichen- itza, a serpent like solar projection, consisting of seven inverted light triangles resulting in shade that genrates on the nine plataforms on this building when the sun sets.

Just as it happened more than 1,000 years ago, the equinox phenomenon of the Kukulkan temple in Chichen-itza, still reaches to the hearts of all its spectators. In these times of year, the game of light and shade on the temple, creates this optical illusion: that a serpent is moving. Thousands of curious people and admireres of the Mayan gods and thousands of tourists reunite at Chichen Itza to live this unique and unforgettable experience.

This phenomenon lasts two minutes while the sun sets and the triangles disappear downward or upward depending on which equinox it is. (The serpent appears to leave the temple downward in the Spring and upward into the temple in the Fall). At sunset, see a spectacular show of sounds and light.

Hours: 8:00 am to 5:00pm
Visit length: 3 hours
Summertime suggestion: to use sunblock, hats and carry plenty of liquids
Services: parking, turist flea market, museum, restuarant and bathrooms.