The Mayan civilization spanning more than 3,000 years is believed to be among the New World’s original cultures. Mayan people were considered to be quite intelligent and clearly ahead of their times. The Mayan culture is renowned for its astronomical systems, sophisticated mathematical calculations, stunning architecture and fabulous art. The Mayan people made Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula their primary home and were among the world’s culturally dynamic societies and most densely populated.
The Mexican city of Cancun is also home to some of the fascinating Mayan ruins. The most famous are Chichen Itza and Coba. The Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza were recently named among Seven Wonders of the World. It has also remained a UNESCO World heritage Site for past two decades now.
Chichen Itza is believed to be the Mayan culture’s most important city in the Yucatan peninsula. The city is home to most amazing buildings in comparison to those found in other Mayan ancient cities. The ruins here are mystical and spectacular. The most stunning and largest of the Mayan ruins are to be found here. If you are spending your vacation in Cancun and want to go out for a one day excursion tour, Chichen Itza is definitely the place to visit.
The word ‘Chichen-Itza’, in Maya language, means “Mouth of the well of the Itza”. This sacred city of Itza is situated 75 miles east of Merida, which is State of Yucatan’s capital. The ruins of this city are spread in an area of nearly 6 square miles. Here hundreds of buildings were once found. Most of the buildings have now turned into mounds. However, the tourists are delighted to see more than 30 buildings that are still in good shape.
The Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza are now categorized into two groups. One group portrays the buildings constructed between 7th and 10th centuries A.D. during the classic Maya Period. During this time the city evolved as a prominent ceremonial center. The second group depicts the buildings built in later part of 10th century till early 13th century A.D. during the Maya-Toltec Period. Some of the outstanding ruins as well as the Sacred Well can be found in this area.
El Castillo (Kukulkan-Quetzalcoatl), popularly called Kukulkan's Pyramid, is the best known construction presently found in Chichen Itza. This stepped pyramid is square-based and nearly 75 feet tall. This pyramid doesn’t house human remains, but was specially constructed for astronomical purposes. The western balustrade of the main stairway of the pyramid is bathed in the sunlight at about 3 pm during the autumnal equinox on September 21 and during vernal equinox on March 21 every year. This phenomenon causes 7 isosceles triangles forming the 37-yards-long body of a serpent creeping downwards and finally joining the huge stone-carved serpent’s head at the bottom of stairway.
When planning to visit the Mayan Ruins at Chichen Itza, you can take the assistance of tour companies that organize guided tours here. The informative guides accompanying the tourists will beautifully explain about the Mayan people, their culture, their astronomical advancements, the wonderful architectures and the highly advanced civilization of the Mayas.