Chichen Itza holds amazing archeological treasures for you to walk around. If you have visited the area before you can agree with us that the Mayan culture shows first-class engineering. Nevertheless, if you have only visited the site through pictures and videos, we encourage you to keep reading and discover more about Chichen Itza and the great Pyramid of Kukulkan. Here we’ve brought you some facts about what’s hidden underneath such wonder.
The ancient Maya constructed hundreds of pyramids throughout Mesoamerica, from about 1000 B.C. to A.D. 1500, placing a wide variety of artifacts inside of them.
Yes, just like Leonardo DiCaprio dreamed within a dream, within a dream in the Inception movie. The Pyramid of Kukulkan, also known as El Castillo, is a pyramid within a pyramid, within a pyramid.
This is due to common pre-Hispanic practice. Habitants would build on top of what was left from previous cultures. This resulted in long settlements made in several constructive phases.
This fact is the most common one among tourists. A sacred cenote was found under the Great Pyramid. But did you know that the pyramid rises equidistantly between four cenotes? One to the north, another to the south, another to the east, and the fourth one to the west. This new finding would be the fifth cenote, the “axis mundi“, the point where the Sacred Ceiba grew its roots that reached the underworld, and its branches reached the four cardinal points.
The reason for its construction was the need to have a place to worship their god Kukulcan. Kukulkan was represented in the shape of a snake, you can see images representing this on the inside and outside of the Pyramid. The Pyramid of Kukulkan was a meeting point for Mayan groups from other parts of the Yucatan Peninsula. People would gather to worship and seek divine knowledge.
Other theories may say that the Sun influenced greatly the Chichen Itza construction. Despite the repetitive illustrations that are credited to be the god of the rain. Above all, the Mayan civilization was sensible to their surroundings and most have used the sun and the sky for their engineering practices. It is a great example to represent intelligence and knowledge in different areas such as math, geometry, astronomy, and even acoustics.
Something that has left scientists and archeologists in awe was finding out the origin of some of the main materials used to build the Pyramid of Kukulkan. “Mica” is a type of stone and mineral which the building holds, but it can only be found about 2.000 miles (3.200 km) away from the area, in Brazil! So the question stands for how in the world did they carry all of that stone from one place to the other?! No one knows, but that is part of the mystery and magic that Chichen Itza holds. Other ancient buildings have raised the same questions, and that only makes historians wonder more and more about the similarity of civilizations around the world.
One thing most people do not know about Chichen Itza is that it was discovered twice. Discovering twice only means it was lost once and rediscovered. I know what you may think, “How can anyone lose such a huge building? Well, let me tell you that in 514 AD, a priest by the name of Lakin Chan discovered the site that is now known as Chichen Itza. It is believed that Chan also referred to it as Itzamna. Years passed, and not much value was given to the archeological site. As a result, Chichen Itza was lost and Mexico fell into turmoil and was ravaged by a series of wars. It wasn’t until 1841, that an American explorer by the name of John Lloyd Stephens stumbled upon this site once again and turned it over to Mexico. Lucky us! Imagine if he would’ve missed it…
As we mentioned before, Chichen Itza was built in different phases throughout history. The Pre-Classic period, and a later period before the Spanish Conquest. The Pre-Classic period was mostly influenced by Mayans, so the first phase or Pyramid is attributed to them. Due to invasions through the centuries, Toltecs took over in the 10th century and did their own thing. As a matter of fact, the most iconic buildings of the Chichen Itza, such as the Temple Pyramid of Kukulcan may have been built by the Toltec, and not the Mayans, as many suppose.
Check out more about The Pyramid, and make sure to add Chichen Itza to your next vacation.