Chichen Itza is the most famous archaeological site with old Maya temples and pyramids in Mexico. It is a very popular travel destination for tourists who spend their vacation time at the Riviera Maya due its amazing buildings, temples and pyramids. Chichen Itza can be reached within 3 hours by car or bus from Cancun.
Therefor it is recommended to plan a trip there very carefully to be sure to arrive early in the morning, before the main stream of visitors floods the area. A good idea is it, not to choose the weekend for such a trip because many tourists will choose the weekend to go there. It might even better to travel there the day before and stay in a hotel or hostel nearby.
When was Chichen Itza built ?
Chichen Itza is a Maya settlement of the late classical period. It was inhabited between 600 AC and 1500 AC by the Mayan group named “Itza”. The construction of many buildings began around 600 AC.
After a war with another group of the Mayas, who came from the region of Tabasco, Chichen Itza was destroyed and the Itza moved down south and founded a new town named Nojpeten what means “great island”. This city was located in the Lake Peten in Guatemala, on the island on which today the modern city Flores can be found.
Chichen Itza facts
The name Chichen Itza means “At the mouth of the well of the Itza” or maybe better “At the edge of the Itza’s cenote”. A big cenote, that can be visited, is located on the area. Many big buildings remained and were restored during the last decades.
And this is correct spelling: Chichen Itza – not as you can see it sometimes: chitchen itza – chicken itza – chicen itza – kitchen itza – chichin itza – chicen itza
Some of the earliest pictures of Chichen Itza were created by the british architect and painter Catherwood, who travelled along Yucatan together the american diplomate Stephens in 1841.
The most famous building of Chichen Itza is the great pyramid, called “el Castillo”. Twice per year, during the time of equinox, light and shadow in combination with the giant head of a snake at the bottom of one of the stairs, create the illusion of a snake moving downstairs. Tourists like this, even it’s not known if this effect was planned by the original constructors.
Beside this, there a many more buildings in this area of 1547 sqkm.
The post Yucatan Peninsula and Riviera Maya – Getting Around describes a tour that I did during my travels in Yucatan.
A good article with more details can be found at Wikipedia:
About the Itza
You might like my eBook, availabe at Amazon:
The Maya Sites – Hidden Treasures of the Rain Forest
A German article about the travels of Stephens and Catherwood can be found here: http://dasbestebuchderwelt.de/2013/03/24/reisen-in-zentralamerika-und-yucatan/