I have been to only two of the wonders of the modern world. Unlike The Roman Coliseum, Chichen Itza is really a collection of wonders. Of course the the famous pyramid is the centerpiece. However, the ball field, observatory and smaller pyramids are all fascinating and worth seeing in their own right. Truly a remarkable experience.
Before I visited Chichén Itzá for the first time I thought there was just the one giant pyramid. I didn’t realize that there was a whole city of ruins. Since then I have visited other Mayan ruins in the Yucatan and Qunintana Roo. In fact there are many archaeological sites all through Mexico and they are not all Mayan. The Mayan people live primarily in The Yucatan and contrary to popular beliefs they are still here.
This ruin is a smaller pyramid in the jungle near the great pyramid of Chichen Itsa. The great pyramid is considered to be one of the seven wonders of the modern world. This one, not so much but it is still amazing to see it standing almost 2000 years after its construction.
Iguanas in the Yucatan are probably as common as squirrels in the eastern USA. I am sure Mexican people think the gringos are all insane taking pictures of what they probably consider pests. This one was special though. This was taken at Chichén Itza which is a World Heritage site, so that makes him special…right?
I am sure our guide told us the significance of this pillar. However, I have no idea of what the significance is. I think it may be some sort of calendar but just can”t remember. I like the image because of the contrast between the pillar and the small pyramid behind it. The pyramid behind the pillar is about half the size of the larger and more famous structure at this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Most people visiting Chichén Itzá are elated to see the large Pyramids and the Ball Court. As you are walking through you gain an appreciation for the wonderful Mayan culture that seemed so civilized and yet so brutal. It reminds me of our USA culture. However, the observatory really impressed me. To think that this ancient culture was also mapping stars and comets was a little surprising. Yet Mammoths and Saber Tooth Tigers still existed when the Mayan culture was flourishing.
This image is an edit of an earlier post using Google’s NIK editing tools.
One of the most interesting things about visiting the ancient Mayan sites in the Yucatan was seeing their incredible attention to detail. Along the walls of the “ball court” there were incredible engravings like this which detailed the rules of the game.
When touring Chichén Itzá in the Yucatan before visiting the pyramids you stop at a long field. This is known as The ball field . They would play a soccer type of game in which they would kick a small ball through this goal. The goal sits atop a stone wall that is easily 20 feet high.
I have tried to visualize how they did this and still can’t quite comprehend it. The rubber type ball is about the size of a softball and the goal is not much bigger!
We own a time share at the Westin Lagunamar in Cancún. Most of the Mayan ruins are at least an hour away by car or bus. However adjacent to the resort is a small park maintained by the state of Quintana Roo. This ruin was a lighthouse for ships that were sailing towards Tulum around year 200 of the modern era. It was chosen because it is the highest spot in Cancún.
Most people visiting Chichén Itzá are elated to see the large Pyramids and the Ball Court. As you are walking through you gain an appreciation for the wonderful Mayan culture that seemed so civilized and yet so brutal. It reminds me of our USA culture. However, the observatory really impressed me. To think that this ancient culture was also mapping stars and comments was a little surprising. Yet Mammoths and Saber Tooth Tigers still existed when the Mayan culture was flourishing.
Jungle Drums above a popular cenote near Cancun Mexico. The young leopard drummer was one of three dancing and entertaining as the more fearless visitors walked down hundreds of stairs to swim in the denote and the rest of the more sane people watched the musical performance.