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It is large pre-Columbian archeological site built by Maya civilization and located in the northern center of the Yucatan Peninsula. Chichen Itza was a major regional point in the northern Maya lowlands and exhibits a multitude of architectural styles. The site contains many fine stone buildings in various states of preservation, and many have been restored. Dominating the center of Chichen Itza is the Temple of Kukulkan, often referred to as “El Castillo” (the castle). This step pyramid has a ground plan of square terraces with stairways up each of the 4 sides to the temple on top. On the Spring and Autumn equinox, at the rising and setting of the sun, the corner of the structure cast a shadow in the shape of a plumed serpent – Kukulkan – along the west side of the north staircase. On these two days, the shadows from the corner tiers slither down the northern side of the pyramid with the sun’s movement to the serpent’s head at the base. Archaeologists have identified in Chichen Itza the Great Ball Court about 150 meters to the north-west of the Castillo and it is very impressive. It is the largest ball court in ancient Mesoamerica. The imposing walls are 12 meters high, and in the center, high up on each of the long walls, are rings carved with intertwining serpents. At one end of the Great Ball Court is the North Temple popularly called the Temple of the Bearded Man. Built into the east wall are the Temples of the Jaguar. Next to El Castillo are a series of platforms and to the east of El Castillo are a series of buildings. Along the south wall one of the temples is group of a Thousand Columns. And one of the more notable structures at Chichen Itza is a complex called Las Monjas (The Nuns). Chichen Itza also has a variety of other structures. There is one of the most impressive Cenotes – Sagrado, which is 60 meters in diameter, and sheer cliffs that drop to the water table some 27 meters below. Chichen Itza, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the second-most visited of Mexico’s archaeological sites. In 2007, Chichen Itza’s El Castillo was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World after a worldwide vote.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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