One of the seven wonders of the world (according to www.new7wonders.com), heritage of humanity (according to UNESCO) and a place you must see before you die (according to me)
Chichén Itzá was one of the stops of my summer’s road trip and it is one of the most famous mayan cities. It’s located in the state of Yucatán (in Mexico, that is).
The name of the site comes from the Mayan words Chi (mouth) Che’en (well); I was told in the site that the Itzáes were some sort of political figure, Wikipedia says that it comes from the words Itz (sorcerer) and a (water) so it means the mouth of the well of the water sorcerers or the water of the well of the Itzáes, the place is called like that because of a “Cenote” (sort of a natural well) which was sacred among the Mayas.
Well, enough about linguistics. The place is absolutely fantastic, it’s HUGE and filled with tourists but it’s absolutely worth visiting, the pyrammid of Kukulkán (the feathered snake) is probably the best known building of the site, it’s huge and fantastic (I already said fantastic and huge, sorry about that, but that’s the way it is) and one of the features that make it so great is that it is built so that in the summer solstice the shadows cast on the pyramid (by the pyramid itself) make it look like kukulcán is descending (the shadow moves from top to bottom of the pyramid, haven’t seen it in person but I saw some photos) it’s a bit hard to describe it in here, I hope I’m making myself clear.
Another of the main buildings is the observatory known as “el caracol” (the snail). There are many other buildings (and there are several excavations in process) and on the paths of the site there are many crafts vendors that give Chichén Itzá a special something (that can be annoying for some).
Rounding up, this Mayan archaeological zone, wonder of the world, heritage of humanity is a place you must see before you die if you have the chance.