As most of you might know, Chichen Itzá is considered one of the main archaeological complexes in the Yucatan Peninsula and in all of Mexico.
Today in our blog, we will be providing 10 interesting facts that you will want to know before visiting the magnificent ruins of Chichen Itzá.
The name Chichen Itzá translates from Mayan as ‘the mouth of the well of Itza’. The Itzaes were considered as mythical-historical characters, whose name can be translated as ‘water witches’.
This name refers to the Cenote Sagrado (Sacred cenote) found in the complex, which the Mayans considered one of the main entrances to Xibalbá, the underworld.
This magical place that is visited by millions of tourists a year, was enlisted in 1988 as part of the World Heritage Site (UNESCO) and in 2007 as one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
In addition, Chichén Itzá is the second most visited archaeological site in Mexico after Teotihuacan.
Chichén Itzá was a huge city, it came to cover an area of 25 km2 where more than 100,000 people resided. It was a huge metropolis of the time.
Currently, it’s the space opened to the public is approximately 9.6 km2, where you can find around 30 buildings that still stand.
In the heart of this city is El Castillo, widely known as the famous Kukulcán pyramid that is 24 meters high and 60 meters per side. Each side has a wide staircase made up of 91 stone steps, with a total of 364 steps between all sides.
Added to this, this pyramid has an upper platform, obtaining a total of 365 that correspond to the number of days in a year.
The Great Ball Court is the largest in Mesoamerican territory with 68 meters wide and 166 meters long. Has two high walls in the center are embedded two rings of stone, known as the scoreboard.
The name given by the Mayas to the ball game was Pok -Ta- Pok, in reference to the sounds that the ball produced in its bounces with the walls.
The architectural acoustics of the temples are extremely impressive for the period when these temples were built.
The Kukulcán pyramid emits a sound very similar to the song of the Quetzal, which is generated by clapping in front of one of its facades. And in the great ball game you can hear the voices of people on the other side of the court.
Wow, super awesome right?! Don’t forget to ask your guide if you would like to hear the sound when clapping your hands.
Between the 20th to 21st of March and 22nd to 23rd of September of each year, you can enjoy the famous Equinox, which is an effect of light generated when the sun goes down and hits the main pyramid, projecting a shadow that is interpreted as the descent of the plumed serpent.
This indicates that the temple was built with astrology and movement in mind.
North of the archaeological complex, we will find Cenote Sagrado considered by the Mayans as the entrance to the underworld.
With a diameter of 60 meters and a depth of 13, this place is famous as countless ceremonial objects, animal bones and numerous human bones remains have been found in its waters as a result of rituals and sacrifices that were carried out at the time in order to guarantee rain and good harvests.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, the archaeological complex was part of the properties of the archaeologist American Edward Herbert Thompson who later sold it to the Barbachano family.
After years of resistance and negotiations, the latter agreed and ended up selling the property to the government of Yucatan.
If you want to know more about Chichen Itzá and the Mayan culture, we invite you to join us on one of our amazing tours with our professional guides.