• INAH-DMC/Mauricio Marat
    INAH-DMC/Mauricio Marat
  •  CYARK/Archivo
    CYARK/Archivo
  •  CYARK/Archivo
    CYARK/Archivo
  •  CYARK/Archivo
    CYARK/Archivo
  • INAH-DMC/Mauricio Marat
    INAH-DMC/Mauricio Marat
  •  INAH-DMC/Mauricio Marat
    INAH-DMC/Mauricio Marat
  • INAH-DMC/Héctor Montaño
    INAH-DMC/Héctor Montaño
  •  INAH-DMC/Héctor Montaño
    INAH-DMC/Héctor Montaño
  • INAH-DMC/Héctor Montaño
    INAH-DMC/Héctor Montaño
  • INAH-DMC/Mauricio Marat
    INAH-DMC/Mauricio Marat
Chichén Itzá
In the mouth of the well of the Itzaes (an early Maya people from the south)
At the time of the equinoxes, the shadow of Kukulkan, the serpent, descends from its temple to fertilize the earth, while the red jaguar is hidden in the Temple of the Warriors, with its jade spots glowing. This ancient capital city has been declared a World Heritage Site.
About the site

Chichen Itza has been on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1988. It was an extensive, powerful city, a warrior capital, and at the same time a city of imposing palaces and temples. Mayan by heritage, it was influenced by the Toltecs and it attracted people locally from the cities of Uxmal, Coba and Chacmultun as much as those from afar away, such as from Tula. It was a member of the League of Mayapan from 987 AD. In its heyday from around 600 to 1200 AD, it had a population of 50,000 farmers, builders, craftspeople, rulers, artists and priests. Its network of paved roads, or sacbeob (singular sacbe), is outstanding.

The worship of Kukulcan, or Quetzalcoatl, came from Tula, as well as the many-columned buildings, which are reminiscent of the shape of a snake. For example in the capital of the Toltecs, the remarkable Temple of a Thousand Columns honors Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli, the Lord of the Dawn, who was the embodiment of Quetzalcoatl. The city’s principal structure, El Castillo ("The Castle"), is also known as the Temple of Quetzalcoatl, and it is above all a representation of the solar calendar, and hence a monument to time itself. This and other tall square- or rectangular-based pyramid structures have long stairways edged with robust balustrades. These days this style is known Toltec Maya.

From the east of Yucatán it also received the Puuc-style filigree design in the form of elaborate decoration made from stucco facade masks of the rain god Chaac, and numerous polished stone fret patterns interspersed with small pillars and minor sculptures in low structures. There are also circular-plan buildings with an ancient heritage, such as the surprising observatory known as El Caracol (“The Snail”).

The great works began by levelling out the ground for the various platforms on which the palaces and temples were built including El Castillo, the Great Ball Court, the Temple of the Great Tables, the Temple of the Warriors, the Tzompantli, the Platform of the Eagles and the Jaguars and the Platform of Venus. El Mercado ("The Market”), the Temple of the Sculpted Columns and the Temple of the Small Tables were erected in one great quadrangular plaza.

At the spring and fall equinoxes, a carefully calculated effect of light and shadow is produced by the shadow of the north staircase of the building known as the Castle or Pyramid of Kukulkan. The shadow forms the outline of a serpent, a phenomenon interpreted as the descent of the god Kukulkan to fertilize the earth and to ensure the continuity of the agricultural cycle that was so important to the Mesoamerican worldview.

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INAH-FN/Fondo prehispánico/Claude Désiré Charnay, inv. 417708
Facade of "the Castle" in Chichen Itza
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INAH-FN/Fondo prehispánico/Claude Désire Charnay, inv. 417699
View of "the Castle" in Chichen Itza
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INAH-FN/Fondo Felipe Teixidor/Teoberto Maler, inv. 455313
East facade of the Annex to the "Building of the Nuns," Chichen Itza
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INAH-FN
Temple of the Jaguars, during the reconstruction process.
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INAH-FN/Fondo Felipe Teixidor/Teoberto Maler, inv. 465757
Temple of the Cocomes
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INAH-FN/Fondo prehispánico/Teoberto Maler, inv. 417541
"The Castle," west facade and steps
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INAH-FN/inv. 324761
Detail of the walls of "the Snail" before rebuilding, Chichen Itza
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INAH-FN
Front view of "the Church"
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INAH-FN/Fondo prehispánico/Teoberto Maler, inv. 417525
Ruins of the ball game court, Chichen Itza
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INAH-FN/Fondo Felipe Teixidor/Teoberto Maler, inv. 455312
Fragments of tzompantli and warrior, Chichen Itza
300 a.C. - 1550

Clásico Temprano - Posclásico Tardío
700 - 1050

Clásico Tardío a Posclásico Tardío

Did you know...
  • The Castle was built over another identical but smaller structure, which holds the sculpture of a jaguar painted in red and inlaid with jade to simulate the spots of this feline.
  • The tzompantli was a platform where the skulls of victims sacrificed in rituals were placed.
  • Inside the Temple of the Tables there is a room with pilasters that bear representations of warriors.
  • The Temple of the Warriors was built over the Temple of Chac Mool, in which pillars are found with polychrome reliefs that represent warriors and priests.
An exert point of view
Marco Antonio Santos Ramírez
Marco Antonio Santos Ramírez
Zona Arqueológica de Chichén Itzá
Archeological site
Chichén Itzá
Practical information
Monday to Sunday from 8:00 to 16:00 hrs

$255.00 pesos

  • Extra fee for video cameras
  • Discount for senior Mexican citizens
  • Discount for Mexican students and teachers
  • No Smoking
  • No entry with food
  • Pets not allowed
  • No Flash
Se localiza a 115 km al este de la ciudad de Mérida, en el estado de Yucatán.

From the cities of Mérida or Cancún, take Federal Highway 180 and in the town of Piste take the exit for the archeological zone.

Services
  • Accesibilidad
  • Estacionamiento
  • Sanitarios
  • Tienda
  • Visitas guiadas
  • +52 (985) 851 0137
  • WWW
  • VISITA VIRTUAL
Directory
Director de la Zona Arqueológica
Marco Antonio Santos Ramírez
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
+52 (985) 851 0137
1884
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185_A_estructuras_observatorio_mauricio_marat
INAH-DMC/Mauricio Marat
Observatory
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CYARK/Archivo
Observatory
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CYARK/Archivo
Cenote
185_A_slider_cyark_chichen_itza_2
CYARK/Archivo
The Castle
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INAH-DMC/Mauricio Marat
The Castle
185_A_slider_chichen_itza_4
INAH-DMC/Mauricio Marat
Observatory
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INAH-DMC/Héctor Montaño
Painted House or Chichanchob
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INAH-DMC/Héctor Montaño
Chac Mool
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INAH-DMC/Héctor Montaño
Chichen Itza
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INAH-DMC/Mauricio Marat
Temple of the Warriors
Sureste
Sala Introductoria a Chichén Itzá
En los dos equinoccios, la sombra de Kukulkán, la serpiente, desciende de su templo para fertilizar la tierra, mientras el jaguar rojo, oculto en el Templo de los Guerreros, hace brillar sus manchas de jade. Así es esta antigua capital, Patrimonio de la Humanidad.
At the time of the equinoxes, the shadow of Kukulkan, the serpent, descends from its temple to fertilize the earth, while the red jaguar is hidden in the Temple of the Warriors, with its jade spots glowing. This ancient capital city has been declared a World Heritage Site.
En la boca del pozo de los itzáes
In the mouth of the well of the Itzaes (an early Maya people from the south)

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