Chichen Itza














              Second part of Chichen Itza photos.  Chichen Itza was booming between 600 and 1200 AD.  As with most of these Mayan sites they don't really know what brought it's demise and there are conflicting theories.  The later buildings show signs of Toltec influence [from Central Mexico] and the Toltec definitely occupied the city starting somewhere between 1000 to 1200 AD.  What isn't clear is whether the Mayan city fell on its own, from disease or revolt, or if it was taken over by the Toltecs.  The blending of Mayan and Toltec styles in the structures suggests a more peaceful union. 

            It always surprises me how little is known about these places.  The local tour guides at Chichen Itza, and some other places, are always quick to blame Spain for all the unknowns.  As the Spanish conquered the native population they forced them to burn everything that had to do with their history, religion, calendars and astronomical information - basically everything that wasn't literally carved in stone; but most of these civilizations had fallen centuries before the Spanish arrived and that much of that information had already been destroyed.  It's also surprising that all the structures and other Mayan sites were made without using the wheel.  They had the most advanced writing system in Mesoamerica, but never invented the wheel.

            There's always at least one structure, and usually more than one, on these sites that is aligned with the spring and fall equinox.  At Chichen Itza it is the Temple of Kukulkan [picture on the previous page]. On mid-afternoon of these days the sun's effect produces shadows and light that create the appearance of a serpent descending the pyramid.  The park has become very popular during these days.

Click on the image and burn a textbook.


The conflict of whether the games winner or loser was sacrificed results from the great honor in being sacrificed, otherwise it would be clear.

Info for following two pictures.

Chichen Itza is located in north-central Yucatan Peninsula.

Another feathered serpent -they are everywhere at Chichen Itza and represent Kukulkan, the Mayan word for Quetzalcoatl - the biggest god.

[info for following photo, structure called "Tzompantli"] Quetzalcoatl was the big dog god for all the mesoamerican societies.

The walls of this structure are covered with these rows of skulls, each one is unique.


[Info for following 2 photo's] Venus is a greek god and was a word probably never spoken by the Mayans.

The Platform of Venus, and many other structures in Mesoamerica with 'Venus' in their name, are named because of the planet.

Venus is close to the sun in the sky, therefore deified as an important goddess. She was likely called "Chak'ek" but "Venus" is more widely understood

Info for following photo, and where Chichen Itza got it's name; it means "at the mouth of the well of the Itza".

Jade and Pottery offerings were found at the bottom. Tour guides always insist that young virgin women were sacrificed here but there's no proof.

One of the many "Chac Mool" altar statues on the site.

Info for next 6 photos - Temple of the Warriors. The outline above differs from the photo below because it includes the wood and plaster roofs.

Built as a larger copy of a building from the Toltec capital in Tula.

One of the pillars up close, they are all very detailed like this.

A glance at Chac Mool, named by some guy who wrote volumes of "history" about Mayan sites, which all turned out to be completely dreamed up.

Chac Mool holds a tray on his belly where incense was burned and human hearts were sacrificed.

To the left of Chac Mool...

To the right.

Info for following 2 photos.

Also different from the outline, which includes the roof.

The description says these plumed jaguars were at the top, but have been removed and are sitting on the ground, protected by a covering.

It just seemed like an interesting picture.

Self explanatory.

Even after 1000 years or so, these haven't settled and are still perfectly alligned.

Best guess at a typical non-royalty home at Chichen Itza.

Info for following 2 photos.

first one.

second one.

Info for the Temple of the Ossuary, next. It's built over a deep cavern and several tombs were found inside.

The cavern was likely seen as a passage to the underworld, more on that later...

One of the ways that "zero" was represented.

I thought it was interesting how they described zero as one of the oldest examples of abstract thought.

Cenote Dzitnup, near Valladolid, popular swimming place. Don't ask me how to pronounce it.

There was one hole at the top providing the only natural light, and lots of bats hanging out.