Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Chichén Itzá

Our next stop was the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza. The site is huge, with many pyramids and big buildings. The first construction on the site dates to the 7th century with construction continuing for several hundred years. The city was overthrown by the Itzáes who ruled for two centuries at its greatest growth. The Itzáes adopted many of the ways of the Maya. At the end of the 12th century the city was captured by its rival, Mayapán. This first picture is the El Castillo pyramid. It's 82 ft high and the number of platforms, steps, stairways all equal various numbers of the Mayan calendar.
El Castillo was built on top of an earlier structure. The picture below shoes sections of the older pyramid including platforms and steps.
It's hard to look at the pictures and get a sense of how big an area the ruins cover, the site is 2.5 sq. miles.

This is the ball court, again a much bigger court than we saw at any other ruins. High on the wall on the left side of the court you can see a ring which the ball had to get through. The players could use elbows, knees and hips to hit the ball.
Two big iguanas sunning themselves. We saw these guys everywhere.

El Caracol, the observatory

Omar in front of the Templo de los Guerreros (warriors)

El Mercado (the market)

Edificio de las monjas (Edifice of the nuns) and La Iglesia (the church)

The Edifice of the Nuns was built over an older structure. An archaelogist in the 20th century susupected this and used dynamite to blow away part of the exterior, revealing the older structures inside. You can still see his results.

The price of your ticket includes a nightly sound and light show so we went back to the ruins to check it out. The story of the site and the Mayan peoples was narrated as different temples were lit with various colors and effects. It was pretty cool, here's a picture to give you an idea (it was cooler in person).

No comments:

Post a Comment