Thursday, January 3, 2013

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza , an easy day trip from the tourist resort of Cancun, is one of the most visited archaeological sites in Mexico.

             We slept in the parking lot and got a early start the next morning.

El Castillo, 98 feet high, has a second pyramid inside that contains a Chac Mool and a throne shaped like a jaguar, painted red and with spots of inlaid jade.

The Temple of the Jaguar stands along one wall of the largest ball court in ancient Mesoamerica.

This jaguar guards the front entrance.

The Great Ball Court is 551' X 230' with walls 26' high and guarded by a number of serpents.  
The round goals can be seen on opposite walls in the background.

                                         There are thirteen ball courts at this site.

The Platform of Skulls, where captive warrior's heads were displayed after they were sacrificed to the gods.
A Chac Mool between two serpents on top of Temple of the Warriors.  Inside this temple is another complete, smaller temple.

A Chac Mool is a altar shaped like this one.  The still beating hearts of victims were placed on the flat center surface as offerings to various gods.

                         Many pillars line the sides of Temple of the Warriors.

El Caracol, with it's unusual round shape and stone spiral staircase inside, is believed to have been an astronomical observatory.

This was one of the largest Mayan cities, covering over two square miles, with many residential areas extending an unknown distance beyond this.

The site was artificially leveled and contains many buildings connected by many paved causeways crisscrossing the site and extending in all directions from the city.

We were able to enter and explore some buildings, but many of these have since been closed to the public.

                             Mayan architecture is very detailed and intricate.

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