Chichén Itzá , a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and voted as one of the Seven New Wonders of the World, is probably the most popular tourist attraction in the Yucatan, Mexico, with its proximity to Cancun ensuring a steady stream of visitors. Don’t let the large crowds deter you as this ancient Mayan city is definitely worth a visit. The city ascended to prominence around 600 AD and became a regional trading powerhouse. The wealth of the city in ancient times is prominent to this day. Its centrepiece, the Kukulkan temple (or El Castillo) is a baffling piece of craftmanship with many references to a highly developed knowledge of astrology by the Mayas. Each year, many visitors come during the spring and autumn equinox to see an amazing phenomenon: the shadow of a serpent slithering down the pyramid’s northern face with each movement of the sun.
I understand that it’s no longer possible to climb the Castillo. I can understand why but it’s a shame because the views from above were terrific. The acoustics were extraordinary as well. As I stood atop the pyramid, I could clearly hear the conversations of people standing in the square below! You can still stand at the foot of the stairs and clap your hands to experience the amazing acoustics.
The city houses many archeological gems such as the Temple of the Warriors – a pyramid with the great Chac Mool statue at its summit; the Observatory; the Great Ball Court, the largest of its kind; the Temple of the Jaguar with its impressive reliefs; and the Las Monjas complex with its intricate sculptures and masks.
Chichén Itzá is truly enchanting.
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