CHICHEN ITZA

Chichén Itzá is the largest of the archaeological cities of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. It is one of Mexico’s most visited tourist destinations. It was granted World Heritage Site status in 1988 by UNESCO World Heritage Site and was recently selected as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Chichen-Itza, now including one of the new 7 wonders of the world; the Kukulkan Pyramid, is located in the Peninsula of Yucatan, in the Yucatan State; Mexico, between Valladolid and Merida and is just120 km from Merida.

Chichen Itza was a center of pilgrimage for the ancient Maya for over 1,000 years. The Sacred Cenote (a large natural well or limestone sink hole) was holy to the ancient Rain God “Chac”.

About 987 the ruler of the Toltec people of central Mexico came here, and with his Maya allies made Chichen Itza the most powerful city in the Yucatan. The ruler called himself “Kukulcan”, the name of the Mesoamerican Feathered Serpent deity (also known as “Quetzalcoatl”) and Chichen Itza became a center for worship of that god as well. More buildings were built here in a mixture of Maya and Toltec styles.

About 1221 the Maya revolted against the rulers of Chichen Itza. The city was not abandoned, but as political power shifted elsewhere it declined and no major new buildings were constructed. Chichen Itza remained a place of pilgrimage for the Maya until it was conquered by the Spanish Conquistadors in the 16th century.

The structures of Chichen Itza were overgrown with jungle and slowly decayed until major archaeological projects began in the 1920s. Since then, more of the ancient structures have been cleared and restored and more and more tourists come to visit.

Compounding the mystery are ancient legends passed down through the Mayan tribes and also the Toltecs. According to Toltec history, in 987AD the legendary ruler Quetzalcoatl was defeated and expelled from Tula. He was last seen leaving from the Gulf coast on a raft of serpents. However, in the same year, Mayan stories recorded the arrival of a king named Kukulkan, the Serpent God, whose return had been expected. Kukulkan defeated the Mayan city tribes, and made Chichén Itzá his capital

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~ by ferry1984 on July 2, 2011.

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