While enjoying your holidays in the Yucatan Peninsula, if you wish to make a one day trip then it is an absolute must that you visit Chichen Itza. Why? Well, the ancient city of Chichen Itza was declared as being the one of the new Seven Wonders of the World back in 07-07-2007, and for good reason. There was a worldwide vote cast for it and over 100 million people voted that it should be the new wonder. Chichen Itza has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico and in the world.
Just a three-hour drive from Playa del Carmen, the total area of Chichen Itza is 6 square miles. There have undoubtedly been a plethora of archeological excavations in the once great Mayan city – which has revealed an exponential number of different temples in the jungles of Chichen Itza over the past couple of decades- it is safe to say that each temple is no less amazing and wondrous than the pyramids of Egypt.stem.
The Kukulkan temple of Chichen Itza
The main attraction of Chichen Itza is Kukulkan, which has also been given another name by the locals, El Castillo. The Temple of Kukulkan stands at 75 feet and was meant to help the Mayans with their astrological endeavors.
The feathered serpent god, whom the ancient Mayans called Kukulkan, was a prominent deity worshipped by a majority of Mesoamerican people. The Mayans believed that Kukulkan had a human form as well. The feathered serpent god was one out of the three main gods that the Mayan believed created the world. It was thought at the time that Kukulkan showed the Mesoamerican people how to cultivate, how to run an entire civilization and how to make medicine to cure and treat injuries and disease.
The temple of Kukulkan was built by the Toltecs; they created another temple on top of Kukulkan, which was made by the Mayans. Inside the main temple, you will find another temple, which has steps on one side, created by the Mayans of the classical era. Toltecs had a considerable influence on architecture, they built the pyramids with four sides. The Toltecs originated from central Mexico and conquered Mayan inhabited areas in the Yucatan Peninsula, however, most of them also mixed with the Mayans in the post classical era.
Did you know that mayans had mastery on astrology?
The Temple of Kukulkan was primarily built to act as a physical calendar, one that perfectly aligns with the sun. Each side of the temple has 91 steps. So, if you multiply 91 by 4 (there are 4 sides of the temple) you get 364 and if you add the 1 step at the top of the temple the total becomes 365, which indicates the 365 days in a year.
The temple was designed and built with such sheer perfection and ingenuity that in the seasons of both autumn and spring, there are shadows casted over the temple by the sun, which perfectly depict a tuft of feathers of a serpent that appear as if it is slithering down the steps of the temple. And eventually the entire body of the creature links with the head on one of the staircases. A truly magnificent sight to behold!
Cenote Discovered under the Kukulkan Temple!
It is indeed a powerful testament to a civilization long, long gone and has archeologists absolutely intrigued for ages.
However, a great secret has been revealed under temple’s steps in August this year. Researchers have successfully discovered a large cenote – which at the same time also poses a threat for the temple. The underground river flowing beneath the 1000 year old temple could eventually result in the collapse of El Castillo that is if the roof gives way. Experts also believe that the temple may have been built on purpose on top of the cenote as cenotes held great religious significance for the Mayans.