Located in the municipality of Tinum, in Mexico’s south eastern Yucatan State, is the archaeological site of Chichen Itza, a UNESCO World Heritage site, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and one the most visited Mayan ruins in the country.
A powerful economic power in the ancient Mayan world with established trade routes reaching as far as South America, the city of Chichen Itza rose to regional prominence by the end of the Early Class period, at around 600 AD. Archaeologists estimate that between 900 AD and 1050 AD, this ancient city expanded and became the region’s capital, controlling most parts of the Central and Northern Yucatan Peninsula.
The central area of the city covered approximately 5 square kilometres and scholars have found evidence that smaller settlements belonging to the city extended even further out.
All the buildings of the city were connected by an intricate network of paved causeways, called “sacbe”, which in Maya translates as “white road”.
Many of Chichen Itza’s important buildings have been carefully restored. When visiting look out for:
1. “El Castillo” (“The Castle”), also known as “The Temple of Kukulkan”, a monument dedicated to the snake deity Kukulkan which was built somewhere between the 9th and 12th centuries.
2. Thirteen Ball Courts dedicated to a ball sport with ritual associations played since 1,400 BCE by the pre-Columbian peoples of Ancient Mesoamerica. Major formal ball games were held as ritual events, often featuring human sacrifice.
Today visitors from all over the world are able to appreciate and enjoy the many marvellous secrets that modern day archaeology has uncovered in this beautiful country whose rich history includes some of the ancient world’s most important cultures.