Chichén Itzá – Yucatán – México – Most Famous Maya Pyramid

Chichén Itzá is the most famous archaeological site with old Maya temples and pyramids in México.  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. Chichén Itzá 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 Chichén Itzá built ?

El Castillo or Pyramid of Kukulkan in the center of Chichén Itzá, México

Chichén Itzá is a Maya settlement of the late classical period. It was inhabited between 600 AC and 1500 AC by the Mayan group named “Itzá”. The construction of many buildings began around 600 AC.

El Caracol - the observatory temple - Chichén Itzá, México

El Caracol – the observatory temple – Chichén Itzá, México

After a war with another group of the Mayas, who came from the region of Tabasco, Chichén Itzá was destroyed and the Itzá moved down south and founded a new town named Nojpeten what means “great island”. This city was located in the Lake Petén in Guatemala, on the island on which today the modern city Flores can be found.

Head of a feathered serpent - Chichén Itzá - México

Head of a feathered serpent – Chichén Itzá – México

Chichén Itzá facts

The name Chichén Itzá means “At the mouth of the well of the Itzá” or maybe better “At the edge of the Itzá’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: Chichén Itzá – not as you can see it sometimes: chitchen itza – chicken itza – chicen itza – kitchen itza – chichin itza – chicen itza

El Castillo - Chichén Itzá - México

El Castillo – Chichén Itzá – México

Some of the earliest pictures of Chichén Itzá were created by the british architect and painter Catherwood, who travelled along Yucatán together the american diplomate Stephens in 1841.

El Castillo

At the ball court - Chichin Itzá - México

At the ball court – Chichén Itzá – México

The most famous building of Chichén Itzá 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.

Columns in the Temple of a Thousand Warriors - Chichén Itzá, Yucatán

Columns in the Temple of a Thousand Warriors – Chichén Itzá, Yucatán

Recommended Reading

The post Yucatán Peninsula and Riviera Maya – Getting Around describes a tour that I did during my travels in Yucatán.

More astonishing photos can be found on the Website “Best regards from far” in the blog post: The mysterious wonders of Chichén Itzá, México

A good article with more details can be found at Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chichén_Itzá

About the Itzá
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Itzá

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/

Different View - Columns in the Temple of a Thousand Warriors - Chichén Itzá, Yucatán

Different View – Columns in the Temple of a Thousand Warriors – Chichén Itzá, Yucatán

 

"La Iglesia" in the Las Monjas complex -Chichén Itzá - Mayan Temples

“La Iglesia” in the Las Monjas complex -Chichén Itzá – Mayan Temples

 

Christian Schoen

Christian Schoen is a globetrotter, travel writer and author of the very successful travel guide "Die Ruinenstädte der Maya", published in Germany. He loves to visit temples, pyramids and any kind of ancient ruins. The SLR in his hand, he can be met on adventurous hiking tours in tropical jungle landscapes - sometimes - or just somewhere in his neighbourhood, the Black Forest Mountains in Germany.

2 Responses

  1. 2013/04/06

    […] Reise durch die mexikanischen Provinzen Chiapas und Yucatán fort, um dort Palenque , Uxmal und Chichén Itzá zu besuchen und zu […]

  2. 2013/08/30

    […] Chichén Itzá – Yucatán – México – Most Famous Maya Pyramid […]

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