A Journey Back In Time
Itza is among the most important Mayan archeological sites
in the Yucatan. It was the mecca of Mesoamerica for peoples of two continents.
It is an easy morning's drive, about two hours inland on good roads from
your vacation home in Soliman Bay. Nine hundred
years ago this cultural center of the Toltec-Maya civilization was at
its peak. To walk among the expansive ruins of Chichen Itza is
to step back in time.
The Pyramid or El Castillo at Chichen Itza is one of the most spectacular
of Mayan ruins. It is a masterpiece of Toltec-Maya architecture. The Pyramid
stands in the center of the ruins at Chichen Itza surrounded by several
other architectural marvels including the Temple of the Warriors, the
Ball court and the Platform of Venus.
One of the most exciting times to see El Castillo (the castle)
is during the autumnal and vernal, (fall and spring) equinoxes. Researchers
have recognized that the Kulkulkan's pyramid was closely related to the
equinoxes. The architectural engineering is so exact that with the arrival
of either equinox, seven triangles of sunlight are projected down the
north face staircase towards two serpent heads carved of stone on either
side of the stairway's base. Click on the photo to discover
the mystery of the serpents and what they may have symbolized.
The Ball court of Chichen Itza is the largest in all Mesoamerica. The
detailed carvings of the ball players along the walls are simply breathtaking.
"Consider" which captain lost his head at the end of the
game, the winner or, the loser? Or, was the image symbolic to the
Mayans. Possibly a dying-to-self and rising to a higher plain in victory.
The mystery and debate over these tribal rituals and their significance
to the economic and spiritual culture of the Mayan continues.
the northeastern section of the central plaza in Chichen Itza is the Temple
of the Warriors. It is the major structure in a series of buildings
called "The Group of a Thousand Columns" this beautiful complex
includes the market (Mercado), western and northern colonnades and a steam
bath. The columns supported a massive roof which enclosed immense
galleries. Many of the columns are sculptured and a sculptured figure
called a Chac-mool occupies the entrance between two, serpent shaped columns.
Caracol, the observatory is one of the finest astronomical observatories
of the ancient Maya. Its name is from the Spanish and describes its snail-like
spiral staircase winding upward within its interior. Its openings are
in line with the northern and southern-most horizons' setting points of
the moon. At vernal equinox its western wall window aligns with the setting
sun. The orbit of Venus can be noted from its observation points 236 days
a year in the morning, and 250 days per year at night.
caryatids (stone heads) their tops hollowed out, line the walls, 12 to
the south and 12 to the north. Each has a different face. Each can hold
a differing level of water. It has been suggested that they may have represented
and reflected the 12 planets of our solar system.