Chichen Itza is the largest and most famous Mayan site in the Yucatan Peninsula. Because of the sheer size and scope of the ruins, it’s best to have an idea of what you want to see when you arrive. Walking around randomly will only confuse your senses and perhaps make miss out on something you’d enjoy more. To help you figure out what are the most popular things to see at Chichen Itza, I’ve compiled a short guide.
There are 7 different ball courts at Chichen Itza; the grandest of them all is named the Great Ball Court. Archaeologists aren’t sure of the exact rules, but they have uncovered evidence that many of the players were sacrificed at the end of the game. If you want to have a truly rewarding visit to Chichen Itza, then a stop at the Great Ball Court is a must.
The Temple of Warriors
The temple of Warriors is one of the few buildings in Chichen Itza that was used for sacrifice. Specifically, a statue of Chac Mool with a flat platform across his stomach made for an efficient sacrificial table. The Temple of Warriors is degrading and may be under restoration when you visit, that will not keep you from seeing it, only climbing its stairs.
This circular temple is quite amazing for such an ancient people. Building a circular temple out of stone takes more intelligence than most visitors realize. The shapes must be cut to precision measurements to ensure strength. The El Caracol served the as one of the Mayans ancient astrological observatories. The advancements in astrology that were made by the Mayans took thousands of years to replicate. Still to this day, they have the most accurate calendar ever created thanks to their advanced studies in astrology.
The Caves of Balanckanche
Not far from Chichen Itza is the cave of Balankanche. It is another untouched ancient Mayan site. The area has been left undisturbed, so that the tools, pottery, and idols can still be seen where they were left in ancient times.
The Light Show
Many of the visitors to Chichen Itza have no idea that at night you can return with the same ticket for the sound and light shows. It kicks off after dark in the center of Chichen Itza. The show is narrated in Spanish, but if you aren’t fluent, you can get a headset for whatever language is necessary.
The show lasts for about an hour, and is a great way to see the ruins after dark. The showers of light illuminate the site in a way that could never be duplicated by any other means.
The Descent of Kukulcan
Three of the most celebrated days of the Mayan year are called the Descent of Kukulcan during March 19th, 20th, and the 21st. During these three days Chichen Itza celebrates by hosting theatre, dances, and music.
These are some of the most popular things to see at Chichen Itza. If they don’t fit your fancy, there are other attractions such as the Red House, House of Deer, and Cenote of Sacrifice. No matter your tastes, you’ll find something you’ll love at Chichen Itza.
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