Pre-Hispanic City of Chichen-Itza
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Shorelander
N 20° 40.973 W 088° 34.336
16Q E 336237 N 2287845
Quick Description: One of the most impressive pre-Columbian sites in the New World.
Location: Mexico
Date Posted: 4/26/2008 1:15:27 PM
Waymark Code: WM3NRM
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Tervas
Views: 63

Long Description:
UNESCO calls the pre-Columbian city of Chichen Itza "one of the greatest Mayan centres of the Yucatán peninsula", and a visit to the site will reinforce that notion. The centerpiece, and the location where the coordinates were taken, is the grand pyramid of El Castillo (or the Temple of Kulkukan). One of the most famous aspects of this temple is its alignment with the stars - at the two annual equinoxes, the sun hits the pyramid just so, creating a representation of a snake slithering down the side of the building through shadow and light, ending at the carved head at the bottom. The snake is only fully visible on these days, and the spectacle inspires thousands of visitors to flood the area. You are no longer allowed to climb the pyramid due to the death of a tourist who slipped climbing the steep steps.

The site also includes the grand ballcourt, where the Mesoamerican Ballgame was conducted. This involved a rubber ball, rings mounted sideways on walls dozens of feet in the air, and the use of players' hips to propel the ball through the ring. Games could go on for days, as scoring a goal was quite difficult. This game has had bloodshed associated with it - the sacrifice of the winner or loser (depending on the situation), and the use of the game as a proxy for warfare. However, the game was also played recreationally, and the bloodshed's purpose was not clear.

Other features of the site include the Temple of the Warriors, El Caracol, the High Priest's Temple, a market, and cenotes, The site is a popular tourist attraction, and there is a fee to enter. Tours are extremely common, especially from tourist locations such as Cancun and Cozumel.
Type: Site

Reference number: 483

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