Chichén Itzá

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Chichén Itzá is one of the most visited places on the Yucatan peninsula, around a million people a year, and is one of the new seven wonders of the world. Prior to Spanish conquest, the city was the major urban center and hub of trade of the Mayan empire from A.D. 750 to 1200. It was a very diverse city, which can be seen by the varied artwork on site. However, it is not known why the city was abandoned in the 1400’s. Historians think it may have been because of drought, over farming, or Spanish quests for treasure.

Seeing this place in real life was an amazing experience. The history and artwork are very interesting as well. The site was a little touristy and busy, but it is definitely a wonder to behold.

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The Mesoamerican ball court on site is the largest in the Americas. It is 225 feet wide and 545 feet long overall. This picture is of the stone hoop that players would try to hit a 12 pound ball through. The two goals were 20+ feet high. The competition was fierce, and the winning teams’ captain would be beheaded by the losers’ as this was the highest honor…

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This is the stepped pyramid known as El Castillo. It has 91 steps on each side adding to 365. Not only did the Mayans invent the calendar but they were so talented at astrology that they could predict solar eclipses.

 

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The Plaza of a Thousand Colunms

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Cenotes (sinkholes) in the city where the primary source of water. They were also used for sacrificing young girls to the gods. The Mayans believed that sacrificing to the gods was necessary to the life of the empire.

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The Plaza of a Thousand Columns