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Chichen Itza Tours

CHICHEN ITZA PYRAMID

El Castillo | The Castle | Pyramid of Kukulcan

El castillo Chichen Itza

The Castle or Pyramid of Kukulcan. One of the tallest and most remarkable examples of Maya architecture, it was built during the high point of the Itza-Cocom culture, during the decadence of Mayapan.

It is a four sided pyramid, with a rectangular temple on the top.

If one stops to think about it, it is a little unsettling to find that the Maya-called the Greeks of America-could have designed such a frugal architecture, almost the enemy of ornamentation. However, amidst the somberness of the Castle exists an austere and fearful esthetic project, and a concept of beauty inspired in the in the bellicose people who dominated those lands.

The principal façade of this temple has two columns representing serpents with open jaws. These form the main entrance, topped with a large mask of the god Chaac. The principal entrance has a lintel sustained by two square pillars, adorned with bas-reliefs.

The pyramid was built on top of an earlier, smaller structure, which it covered. During the excavations the archaeologists discovered the smaller temple, which is 16 meters high.

The descent of Kukulcan

Chichen Itza Equinox
Chichen Itza Equinox
Chichen Itza Equinox

The light and shadow phenomenon. Testimony of the amazing advance of the Maya in architecture and astronomy is the “light and shadow” phenomenon that takes place on the northern staircase of the Castle during the Spring Equinox on the 21st of March and the Autumn Equinox on the 21st of September. About three o’clock in the afternoon on the days of the equinox the sun projects seven triangles of light onto the balustrade on the northeastern side of the Castle. These begin to move up and down along the balustrade to form the silhouette of a serpent.