Discover Chichen Itzá Mexico

On the Caribbean coast, not far from the Mayan Riviera, the developing tourist zones between Cancun and Playa del Carmen, several archaeological sites are worth a trip. Chichen Itzá, one of the 7 new wonders of the world, is the most visited archaeological site in Yucatán. The ancient city, founded in the 4th century, abandoned in the 10th century and inhabited again two centuries later, was one of the most powerful of Mayan civilization. Most of the buildings, most impressive on the site, spread around the Castillo, the very famous Mexican pyramid. In the eastern part, the Templo de los Guerreros (warrior temple) and the statue of Chac-Mool, a sitting figure holding a goblet on its stomach (supposed to receive sacrificial offerings) ate situated alongst the columns of the Grupo de las Mil Columnas. Beyond the central esplanade, behind the Tzompantli (a wall sculpted with skulls evoking human sacrifice once performed in Chichen), you can find Juego de Pelota, Mexico's largest ball game pitch.

As soon as you arrive, the majesty of the buildings will strike you, the most representative dating from the time of the Toltec, known for having left the high plateaus as they were fleeing from the Aztecs. First, there is the castle, a gigantic square pyramid dedicated to the Feathered Serpent, the Warrior temple and its famous Chac-Mool, staring at the visitors surrounded by his halo of mysteries, and the Caracol (snail), the renowned Observatory, certainly the most impressive of all the buildings. How could the builders manage to determine the rhythm of time through this circular building of extraordinary architecture! It requires our imagination of course, but also reminds us of the genial scientific theories on the incidences of light. It is an enigma which leaves us with more questions than answers! In Chichen Itza, the constant questioning of time, space and light is evident everywhere, as well as the will to integrate the environment within the architecture of the town shown by the presence and the position of the cenote. Chichen Itza is above all a ceremonial centre. The predominant aspects seem to be religious, scientific, war-orientated and intellectual more than commercial. When visiting, you inevitably question the relation between the environment, the buildings and the society around it. Was the access left open to all or reserved to a certain elite of priests and dignitaries? It is in the ball game pitch (Pelota) that you can more easily imagine the crowd rushing to it to watch the show, but how did people live their day to day lives in this town during its glory years? So many questions so difficult to answer! It is a Toltec Mayan town, obviously centred on cultural and intellectual matters. You have to keep in mind that the Toltec, who left behind them the most majestic buildings, were qualified as "artists" in the Aztec language. They are even thought to have invented the calendar! The heritage left by these ancient civilizations of Mexico is extremely rich and varied and Chichen Itza is the living symbol of this. This town remains, for many of its visitors, a mystery which haunts their imagination and never ceases to appeal to their intellect. It is the symbol where myth and reality, legend and history converge. This is exactly why Chichen Itza has been rightly declared one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and is such an emblematic place in Mexico.

  • Chichen Itzá archaeological sites , Chichen Itza , Mexico
    Chichen Itza

    The archaeological sites of Chichen Itzá.

    © Manganganath / 123RF
  • Chichen Itzá archaeological sites , Mexico
    Chichen Itzá
    © Tono Balaguer / 123RF
  • Chichen Itzá archaeological sites , Mexico
    Chichen Itzá
    © Preve Beatrice / 123RF
  • Chichen Itzá archaeological sites , Mexico
    Chichen Itzá
    © Glowimages RF / age fotostock
  • Chichen Itzá archaeological sites , Mexico
    Chichen Itzá
    © Joseph Sohm
  • Chichen Itzá archaeological sites , Mexico
    Chichen Itzá
    © Achim Prill / 123RF
Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination Mexico

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