While Europe was still in the midst of the Dark Ages, the
Maya had mapped the heavens, evolved the only true writing system
native to the Americas and were masters of mathematics. Without metal
tools, beasts of burden or the wheel they constructed vast cities across
a huge jungle landscape with architectural perfection and beauty.
One such noble city is Chichen-Itza whose name means the mouth of the well of the Itza people. It is located only 75 miles from Merida, an easy day trip.
The ruins of this city can be divided into two groups: The old city and the new city.
The older part is in the classic Maya Puuc Style, built between the 7th and 10th centuries A.D., similar to Uxmal, with numerous designs featuring Chac, the rain god, and virtually no appearance of the winged serpent motifs. Among the buildings in this style are the Nunnery, the Observatory, the Church, and the Nunnery Annex.
Sometime during the latter part of the 9th century there was a migration of the Itza tribe of Toltecs from central Mexico, bringing with them adoration of the winged serpent god, which the Maya called Kukulcan. The Itza gained control of the city and built their own temples and monuments, incorporating snakes, jaegars, eagles, and skulls in their decorative designs in what is called the Mayan Toltec style. This group includes the Sacred Well, el Castillo [Temple of Kukulkan], Temple of the Warriors, Plaza of the Thousand Columns, the large ball court complex, and the various platforms in the central plaza.
Perhaps the Ossuary [the temple of the high priest] is a transition construction with its columns of Chac masks at the platform corners, but with 4 stairways flanked by serpents whose tail is at the top of the platform and its head, mouth agape, rests on the ground.
As the most famous of the Mayan archaeological sites on the Yucatan peninsula, Chichen Itza has been studied extensively and is the most popular Mayan ruin in Mexico.
Come stay at Posada Santiago Guesthouse where you will feel "at home" in Mexico. We can arrange a car, driver, and a very knowledgable English speaking guide for your visit to Chichen Itza.
Previous | Home |