|Chichen Itza, El Castillo|
WEEK 1: 52 PLACES TO GO
The ancient city of Chichen Itza, with its towering pyramid, 13 ball courts, many temples, giant market, and numerous other buildings, is the most famous and best restored of the many Maya ruins in the Yucatan. Once a thriving religious and political center, Chichen Itza was abandoned in the 14th century. On a trip to Mexico in July, I visited the ruins with my family. As we explored, we could only imagine what it was like in ancient Mayan times.
|Chichen Itza, ruins of the observatory as seen from the Mayaland Hotel|
|Ancient gate to Chichen Itza|
|Ceremonial structure at the top of El Castillo|
|Feathered serpent head at entry to ball court|
|Stone ring, ball court, Chichen Itza|
|Sacred Well, Chichen Itza|
|Platform decorated with carvings of skulls|
After several hours exploring the ruins the day had grown warm and tour buses had arrived. It was time to leave. We walked back to our hotel and jumped in the pool to cool off. We had gotten a taste of the incredible richness of Mayan culture. It made us want to learn much more.
Note: In 2007 Chichen Itza was placed at the top of the list of the New 7 Wonders of the World, a poll of famous monuments initiated in the millennium. Other monuments on the list are Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janiero, the Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu, Petra, the Taj Mahal, and the Colosseum in Rome–all worthy of anyone’s “bucket” list.
You can also read about our trip to the Yucatan in my 8/19/2013 post, Mexican Food in the Yucatan, and my 8/5/2013 post, Akumal, Mexico: Place of the Sea Turtles.
All text and photos copyright Caroline Arnold.