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If you are a traveler, prepper, or archeology enthusiast, we are sure you have heard of Chichen Itza. The Maya people built the big pre-Columbian city of Chichen Itza more than 1500 years ago. The majority of the buildings of Chichen Itza are held back to the construction period 400–600 AD. It expanded between AD 900 and 1050 to become a dominant regional capital.
The historically significant city located in the Yucatán state in Mexico attracts over 2.5 million visitors every year. This makes us enthusiastic to share some great and cool facts about the place to make your trip more fun.
1. Meaning of the Name Chichen Itza
The literal meaning of Chichen Itza is ‘the mouth of the well of Itza’. It is derived from the Mayan culture, where it can be simplified as “Chi” (mouth), “Che’en” (well), “Itz” (magician or sorcerer), and “Há” (water).
2. Discovery OF Chichen Itza
The ancient city came into notice when Stephens and Frederick Catherwood explored Chichen Itza and documented the Mayan ruins in the book, Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan in 1841.
3. Chichen Itza is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World
Chichen Itza was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988, and on July 7th, 2007, it was selected as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. It makes your visit to Chichen Itza more obvious.
4. Astronomically Aligned Monuments
Would you be surprised if I told you the monuments of Chichen Itza are astronomically aligned? The Mayans strongly followed astronomy, and the monuments describe it best. Amongst the various architectures, Chichen Itza hosts El Caracol, a round-shaped observatory. The Mayans used it to gauge the positions of the sun and planets.
5. The Pyramid of Kukulkan is a Symbol of the Seasons
The Pyramid of Kukulkan has 91 steps on each side and another one at the top. It adds up to 365 steps, which are equal to the days in a year. Also, the sides of the pyramid represent the four seasons of the year.
6. Largest Ball Court in the Americas
Chichen Itza is home to the largest ball court in the Americas. The Great Ball Court at Chichen Itza hosted the deadly ball game of Mesoamerica. The losers were decapitated at the end.
7. Tourists were allowed to climb El Castillo until 2006
The most popular pyramid of Chichen Itza, El Castilo, was open to climbers until 2006. The unfortunate death of a woman climber in 2006 led to the ban of climbing the El Castillo.
8. Acoustic Architectures
The architecture of Chichen Itza has incredible acoustics. It is a fun activity to experiment with the acoustics of the structures, starting from the ball court of Kukulkan Temple.
9. Temple of Kukulkan: The Best Place to Witness the Spring Equinox
The Temple of Kukulkan is the best place to witness the spring equinox on March 20th. The Mayans oriented the temple of Kukulkan to reflect the spring equinox. In the event, the shadows of one of its sides reflect on the central stairs. The shadow takes the form of a feathered serpent, symbolizing the descent of God.
10. Gruesome Death Practices
Many structures with human heads carved onto their walls symbolize brutal death penalties practiced in the past. You can witness them with your eyes once you put your leg on this historic place.
Ancient history holds a lot of secrets to modern-day civilization. It shows us a mirror of our past and connects us to our growth as a society. Chichen Itza is the perfect place to witness some of the mind-blowing glory from the past and feel connected to our ancestors.