Chichen Itza

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Shoreham by Sea, United Kingdom

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taken using Pentax Optio S4i, January 2007 – straight from the camera, no editing

The sacred city of the Itza, called Chichen-Itza (chee-chehn eet-sah) in Maya, is located 75 miles east of Merida, the Capital of the State of Yucatan, Mexico. This archaeological site is rated among the most important of the Maya culture and covers an area of approximately six square miles where hundreds of buildings once stood. Now most are mounds, but about thirty may still be seen by tourists.

Possibly the best known construction on the site is Kukulcan’s Pyramid. El Castillo (Kukulkan-Quetzalcoatl), a square-based, stepped pyramid that is approximately 75 feet tall. This pyramid was built for astronomical purposes and during the vernal equinox (March 20) and the autumnal equinox (September 21) at about 3 P.M.. the sunlight bathes the western balustrade of the pyramid’s main stairway. This causes seven isosceles triangles to form imitating the body of a serpent 37 yards long that creeps downwards until it joins the huge serpent’s head carved in stone at the bottom of the stairway. Mexican researcher Luis El Arochi calls it “the symbolic descent of Kukulcan” (the feathered serpent), and believes it could have been connected with agricultural rituals.

In 1194, Mayapan broke the alliance and subdued Chichen and Uxmal. The city was gradually abandoned.

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