Thursday we went on a guided tour to Chichen Itza. We live in Playa Del Carmen these days, after a dissapointing visit in Cancun. We decided to rather take day-trips from Playa del Carmen. We were 14 people with a guide on our own, and we also had a lunch buffet and a visit to a cenote with the opportunity to swim included in the price. We'll post a few pictures from the astonishing archeological site and write some words about the most important temples below.
The Temple Of The Warriors:
Also called Temple Of Sacrifices, 1000 columns and the Market. Fresco-paintings found inside the temple shows how they sacrificed prisoneres here by dropping them back down onto a stone-block, so that the spine broke. Then they removed the hart and brought it to the podium of human heart sacrificion. From time to time this temple or the space between the columns were used as a marketplace aswell. On top of the columns there were wooden beams and over them a stone roof (straw roofs were not good enough in a temple).
Offering plateu of the jaguar:
Here the human hearts of the prisoners were offered to the gods, represented on the stone carvings as a jaguar with a human heart in it's claws.
Ball-field: (100% original)
Chichen Itza was a seremonial center, but once a year (spring) they had a celebration of the raingods, and during this celebration they played a game. 2 teams, each consisting of 7 priests, and one leader priest on each team. They used a scoop made of wood to get a rubber-ball (3-4 kg) through the hoops (like basket with a vertical hoop). A game lasts until one of the teams get the ball through the hoop, and this could take several days (small hoops)! When one team scored, the leader cut of the head of one of the priests of the loosing team as a sacrifice/offering to the raingods. The accustic in the ballfield is amazing (deliboratly built this way)! This was so that the spectators could hear good even when it wore spoken in normal voice/volume.
Pyramid of Kukulkan: (50% restored)
This is the main temple in Chichen Itza, and serves as a solar calendar. It has 9 terrazes, on each side of the steps (representing the months) and 72 steps in each staircase (the weeks). During excavations they also discovered a whole other similar, but smaller temple inside this one, which represents the lunar calendar, and studies has discovered that the Mayans built a new temple over the old one every 52 years. Also in this building the acoustic effects in the construction is amazing. It actually serves as a microphone! The guides demonstrated this by clapping his hands, as he did in the ball-field.
Observatory: (100% original)
Only building we were allowed to climb. Used as an observatory, whit lots of solar patterns and lines and shadow figures, just as in Tulum. Originally there were 8 windows in the Upper part - 4 in each compassdirection and 4 in the medians. This part of the ruins is older than the rest of the site (200-600 AD) and were built by people from guatemala. Though the mayans also used it in the period they reigned the area (800-1200 AD).