Chichen Itza Mayan Ruins
In the north of the Yucatan Peninsula on a spacious plateau surrounded by the lush jungle, you can discover the archaeological remnants of the once great Mayan and Toltec Civilizations. You can see amazing limestone structures chiseled with ornate carvings in this can't-miss ancient citadel. This remarkable city was a thriving Mayan hub as early as fifteen hundred years ago. The city was invaded and taken over by Toltecs from the northern city of Tula led by Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl, former the monarch of Tula. Along with his followers, Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl was exiled from Tula and brought the influence of Toltec culture to Chichen Itza an eon ago. Quetzalcoatl was known as a deity that appeared as a feathered serpent. Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl is believed to have also called himself Kukulkan which means feathered serpent. The Mayan people at Chichen Itza were open to adopting Toltec rituals and cultural beliefs, including human sacrifice, but Mayan culture also maintained a strong influence on the city. The current configuration of the ruins is divided into two sections: Chichen Viejo or Old Chichen was originally founded around 400 A.D. by Mayan shamans who worshipped Chaac, the Mayan deity of rain. The old portion of the city is only open to archeologists. Chiche Nuevo, or New Chichen, was founded by Kulkulkan and his people known as the Itza. Carvings of the plumed serpent proliferate in the buildings of the Toltec section of the city. This is the area that is open to the public.
Also known as El Castillo (the Castle), the Kukulkan Pyramid is the main attraction in Chichen Itza. Named as one of the New Wonders of the World, this impressive structure is seventy-five feet tall. The geometric formations built along the stairway create a shadow representing the slithering body of the serpent descending down the pyramid during the spring and autumn equinox. As the sun moves across the sky in the afternoon, the snake's body seems to wind down the pyramid until it meets with a carved head of the plumed serpent god, Kulkulkan.
Other fascinating sites at Chichen Itza include the Platform of the Skulls, the Jaguar Throne in the Interior Temple, the Temple of the Jaguars, the Great Ball Court, the Cenote of Sacrifice,the Temple of the Warriors, the Great Market, the ceremonial sweat baths, the Nuns Quarters, and the El Caracol astronomical observatory are just some of the awe-inspiring limestone structures, ornate stone carvings, and mysterious ceremonial sites that you can witness at Chichen Itza. Be sure to check out the guided tour packages to Chichen Itza that we offer to vacationers on this site.