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Old June 19th, 2007, 01:12 AM   #1
magm
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Chichen Itza | Mexico

UNESCO World Heritage Site
Chichen Itza ("At the mouth of the well of the Itza") is a large pre-Columbian archaeological site built by the Maya civilization, located in the northern center of the Yucatán Peninsula, present-day Mexico.
The site contains many fine stone buildings in various states of preservation; the buildings were formerly used as temples, palaces, stages, markets, baths, and ballcourts.

Temple of Kukulcan
This step pyramid with a ground plan of square terraces with stairways up each of the 4 sides to the temple on top. On the Spring and Fall equinox, at the rising and setting of the sun, the corner of the structure casts a shadow in the shape of a plumed serpent - Kukulcan, or Quetzalcoatl - along the side of the North staircase. On these two days, the shadows from the corner tiers slither down the northern side of the pyramid with the sun's movement.

Mesoamerican cultures periodically built larger pyramids atop older ones, and this is one such example. In the mid 1930s, the Mexican government sponsored an excavation into El Castillo. After several false starts, they discovered a staircase under the north side of the pyramid. By digging from the top, they found another temple buried below the current one. Inside the temple chamber was a Chac Mool statue and a throne in the shape of jaguar, painted red with spots made of inlaid jade.

The Mexican government excavated a tunnel from the base of the north staircase, up the earlier pyramid’s stairway to the hidden temple, and opened it to tourists. In 2006, INAH closed the throne room to the public.







The Observatory Temple
Nicknamed El Caracol or "the snail" for the stone spiral staircase inside. This structure was an observatory with its doors aligned to view the vernal equinox, the Moon's greatest northern and southern declinations, and other astronomical events sacred to Kukulcan, the feathered-serpent god of the wind and learning. The Maya used the shadows inside the room cast from the angle of the sun hitting the doorway to tell when the solstices would occur. Placed around the edge of El Caracol are large rock cups that they filled with water and would watch the reflection of the stars in the water to help determine their complex, but extremely accurate calendar system


Temple of the Warriors
The Temple of the Warriors complex consists of a large stepped pyramid fronted and flanked by rows of carved columns depicting warriors. This complex is analogous to Temple B at the Toltec capital of Tula, and indicates some form of cultural contact between the two regions. The one at Chichen Itza, however, was constructed on a larger scale. At the top of the stairway on the pyramid’s summit (and leading towards the entrance of the pyramid’s temple) is a Chac Mool.
Near the Warriors is a large plaza surrounded by pillars called "The Great Market."



Columns in the Temple of a Thousand Warriors


Great Ballcourt
Seven courts for playing the Mesoamerican ballgame have been found in Chichén, but the one about 150 meters to the north-west of the Castillo is by far the most impressive. It is the largest ballcourt in ancient Mesoamerica. It measures 166 by 68 meters (545 by 232 feet). The sides of the interior of the ballcourt are lined with sculpted panels depicting teams of ball players, with the captain of the losing team being decapitated.

Built into one of the exterior walls of the ballcourt is the Temple of the Jaguar, which features another jaguar throne -- since this one was not buried for a thousand years, its red paint and jade spots are long since gone.

Behind this platform is a walled inscription which depicts a tzompantli (rack of impaled human skulls) in relief.



A Ball Court Goal


Plumed Serpent, bottom of "El Castillo" staircase

Last edited by magm; June 19th, 2007 at 01:21 AM.
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Old June 19th, 2007, 01:18 AM   #2
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10/10, AMAZING! I was very impressed the last time I saw it
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Old June 19th, 2007, 01:22 AM   #3
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Its truly an amazing site. I went there 5 years ago and it was beautiful.

10/10
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Old June 19th, 2007, 01:26 AM   #4
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10 :P
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Old June 19th, 2007, 06:06 AM   #5
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Amazing! A Wonder!

10/10
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Old June 20th, 2007, 12:08 AM   #6
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10/10

almost still in perfect condition
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Old June 21st, 2007, 01:35 AM   #7
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10/10
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Old June 22nd, 2007, 11:38 PM   #8
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10
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Old June 26th, 2007, 02:43 PM   #9
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10/10
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Old July 5th, 2007, 08:42 AM   #10
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wonderful!
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Old July 5th, 2007, 09:48 PM   #11
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10/10
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Old July 8th, 2007, 12:23 AM   #12
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Anty love

10
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Old July 13th, 2007, 05:31 AM   #13
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10/10
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Old December 29th, 2007, 08:48 AM   #14
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10.
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Old December 29th, 2007, 08:52 AM   #15
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One of the truly, incontrovertibly great architectural/cultural sites of the world. Takes my breath away every time I see these buildings and the entire complex.
Sadly, I could only give it a 10.
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Old January 31st, 2008, 03:57 PM   #16
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10/10
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Old May 17th, 2008, 10:12 PM   #17
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10/10 for sure
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Old May 20th, 2008, 07:31 AM   #18
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11/10

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Old June 15th, 2008, 10:38 AM   #19
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Old June 15th, 2008, 06:15 PM   #20
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10/10
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