Chichen Itza

Slideshow (Flickr)

Chichen Itza, one of the seven wonders of the world El Castillo
aka the Temple of Kukulcan
Stairs up one of the restored faces of the pyramid
Total height is 30 meters. For comparison's sake, the two larger pyramids at Giza are 135-140 meters high. Serpent balustrade. TWice a year, during the spring and fall equinoxes, the sun hits the temple just right and the shadow creates the body of the serpent.
Wikipedia Photo
We left Playa del Carmen early enough that we were one of the first people on the grounds, so I was able to get a decent amount of photos before the hordes of pink umbrellas rolled in...
The Great Ball Court, used to play Ollamaliztli which generally involved trying to get a rubber ball through the goal. Local rules varied, as did whether or not human sacrifice was involved (sometimes it was). Ollamaliztli goal Court dimensions 551 ft x 230 ft
The Tzompantli, aka the Skull Platform Stone skulls Stone carving representation of an actual tzompantli, which was used to display the skulls of prisoners of war and human sacrifices
Tzompantli Iguana Serpent along the Great Ball Court
El Castillo with el Templo de los Guerreros in the background Templo de los Guerreros
aka Temple of the Warriors
Great Ball Court exterior
The steps go up at a 45 degree angle Yep, it's a step pyramid Seven wonders photo proof
One of the unrestored faces, which still looks pretty good when compared to the condition the site was in when it became known to the public in the 1840s courtesy of John Lloyd Stephens
Wikipedia Photo
It was actually first discovered by Europeans when the Spanish took over the Yucatan Peninsula, but was forgotten about after they were driven out of the Yucatan in the 1530s A small Spanish conquistador force under Francisco de Montejo's son actually holed up at the site when they were under siege by the Mayans in 1534. A last ditch assault against the Mayans resulted in losing his last 150 troops, and he had to retreat.
Temples of the Jaguar (upper & lower) which are by the entrance to the Great Ball Court and make up part of one of the court walls Great Ball Court side wall Great Ball Court serpent
Iguana Striking a pose Chichen Itza stone sculptures
Templo de los Guerreros Templo de los Guerreros El Caracol, probably an observatory
Las Monjas, which served as the government palace Las Monjas stone carvings Chichen Itza ruins
Temple at the top of El Castillo El Castillo Those damn pink umbrellas again...
I think they're eating human hearts Mayan carvings Holding a severed head
Nine terraces overall make up El Castillo, plus the temple at the top Serpent balustrade Chichen Itza ruins
El Castillo El Castillo unrestored faces Comparison of restored and unrestored faces

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