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Chichén Itzá


5009 Carretera Costera del Golfo
,Yucatán
Mexico 
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Chichen Itza

(/tʃiːˈtʃɛn iːˈtsɑː/, Spanish: Chichén Itzá [tʃiˈtʃen iˈtsa], tchee-TCHEN eet-SA, often with the emphasis reversed in English to /ˈtʃiːtʃɛn ˈiːtsə/ CHEE-chen EET-suh from Yucatec Maya: Chi'ch'èen Ìitsha' [tɕʰiʔtɕʼèːn ìːtsʰaʔ]; "at the mouth of the well of the Itza people") was a large pre-Columbian city built by the Maya people of the Terminal Classic period. The archaeological site is located in Tinúm Municipality, Yucatán State, Mexico.

Chichen Itza was a major focal point in the Northern Maya Lowlands from the Late Classic (c. AD 600–900) through the Terminal Classic (c. AD 800–900) and into the early portion of the Postclassic period (c. AD 900–1200). The site exhibits a multitude of architectural styles, reminiscent of styles seen in central Mexico and of the Puuc and Chenes styles of the Northern Maya lowlands. The presence of central Mexican styles was once thought to have been representative of direct migration or even conquest from central Mexico, but most contemporary interpretations view the presence of these non-Maya styles more as the result of cultural diffusion.

Chichen Itza was one of the largest Maya cities and it was likely to have been one of the mythical great cities, or Tollans, referred to in later Mesoamerican literature. The city may have had the most diverse population in the Maya world, a factor that could have contributed to the variety of architectural styles at the site.

The ruins of Chichen Itza are federal property, and the site’s stewardship is maintained by Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (National Institute of Anthropology and History). The land under the monuments had been privately owned until 29 March 2010, when it was purchased by the state of Yucatán.[nb 1]

Chichen Itza is one of the most visited archaeological sites in Mexico; an estimated 1.4 million tourists visit the ruins every year.

Name and orthography

The Maya name "Chichen Itza" means "At the mouth of the well of the Itza." This derives from chi', meaning "mouth" or "edge," and ch'en or ch'e'en, meaning "well." Itzá is the name of an ethnic-lineage group that gained political and economic dominance of the northern peninsula. One possible translation for Itza is "enchanter (or enchantment) of the water," from its, "sorcerer," and ha, "water."

The name is spelled Chichén Itzá in Spanish, and the accents are sometimes maintained in other languages to show that both parts of the name are stressed on their final syllable. Other references prefer the Maya orthography, Chichen Itza' (pronounced [tʃitʃʼen itsáʔ]). This form preserves the phonemic distinction between ch' and ch, since the base word ch'e'en (which, however, is not stressed in Maya) begins with a postalveolar ejective affricate consonant. The word "Itza'" has a high tone on the "a" followed by a glottal stop (indicated by the apostrophe).[citation needed]

Evidence in the Chilam Balam books indicates another, earlier name for this city prior to the arrival of the Itza hegemony in northern Yucatán. While most sources agree the first word means seven, there is considerable debate as to the correct translation of the rest. This earlier name is difficult to define because of the absence of a single standard of orthography, but it is represented variously as Uuc Yabnal ("Seven Great House"), Uuc Hab Nal ("Seven Bushy Places"), Uucyabnal ("Seven Great Rulers") or Uc Abnal ("Seven Lines of Abnal").[nb 2] This name, dating to the Late Classic Period, is recorded both in the book of Chilam Balam de Chumayel and in hieroglyphic texts in the ruins.

Location

Chichen Itza is located in the eastern portion of Yucatán state in Mexico. The northern Yucatán Peninsula is arid, and the rivers in the interior all run underground. There are two large, natural sink holes, called cenotes, that could have provided plentiful water year round at Chichen, making it attractive for settlement. Of the two cenotes, the "Cenote Sagrado" or Sacred Cenote (also variously known as the Sacred Well or Well of Sacrifice), is the most famous.

According to post-Conquest sources (Maya and Spanish), pre-Columbian Maya sacrificed objects and human beings into the cenote as a form of worship to the Maya rain god Chaac. Edward Herbert Thompson dredged the Cenote Sagrado from 1904 to 1910, and recovered artifacts of gold, jade, pottery and incense, as well as human remains. A study of human remains taken from the Cenote Sagrado found that they had wounds consistent with human sacrifice.

Site description

Chichen Itza was one of the largest Maya cities, with the relatively densely clustered architecture of the site core covering an area of at least 5 square kilometres (1.9 sq mi). Smaller scale residential architecture extends for an unknown distance beyond this. The city was built upon broken terrain, which was artificially levelled in order to build the major architectural groups, with the greatest effort being expended in the levelling of the areas for the Castillo pyramid, and the Las Monjas, Osario and Main Southwest groups.

The site contains many fine stone buildings in various states of preservation, and many have been restored. The buildings were connected by a dense network of paved causeways, called sacbeob.[nb 4] Archaeologists have identified over 80 sacbeob criss-crossing the site, and extending in all directions from the city.

The architecture encompasses a number of styles, including the Puuc and Chenes styles of the northern Yucatán Peninsula. The buildings of Chichen Itza are grouped in a series of architectonic sets, and each set was at one time separated from the other by a series of low walls. The three best known of these complexes are the Great North Platform, which includes the monuments of El Castillo, Temple of Warriors and the Great Ball Court; The Osario Group, which includes the pyramid of the same name as well as the Temple of Xtoloc; and the Central Group, which includes the Caracol, Las Monjas, and Akab Dzib.

South of Las Monjas, in an area known as Chichén Viejo (Old Chichén) and only open to archaeologists, are several other complexes, such as the Group of the Initial Series, Group of the Lintels, and Group of the Old Castle.

Architectural styles

The Puuc-style architecture is concentrated in the Old Chichen area, and also the earlier structures in the Nunnery Group (including the Las Monjas, Annex and La Iglesia buildings); it is also represented in the Akab Dzib structure. The Puuc-style building feature the usual mosaic-decorated upper façades characteristic of the style but differ from the architecture of the Puuc heartland in their block masonry walls, as opposed to the fine veneers of the Puuc region proper.

At least one structure in the Las Monjas Group features an ornate façade and masked doorway that are typical examples of Chenes-style architecture, a style centred upon a region in the north of Campeche state, lying between the Puuc and Río Bec regions.

Those structures with sculpted hieroglyphic script are concentrated in certain areas of the site, with the most important being the Las Monjas group.

Tourism

Chichen Itza is one of the most visited archaeological sites in Mexico; in 2014 it was estimated to receive an average of 1.4 million visitors every year.

Tourism has been a factor at Chichen Itza for more than a century. John Lloyd Stephens, who popularized the Maya Yucatán in the public’s imagination with his book Incidents of Travel in Yucatan, inspired many to make a pilgrimage to Chichén Itzá. Even before the book was published, Benjamin Norman and Baron Emanuel von Friedrichsthal traveled to Chichen after meeting Stephens, and both published the results of what they found. Friedrichsthal was the first to photograph Chichen Itza, using the recently invented daguerreotype.

After Edward Thompson in 1894 purchased the Hacienda Chichén, which included Chichen Itza, he received a constant stream of visitors. In 1910 he announced his intention to construct a hotel on his property, but abandoned those plans, probably because of the Mexican Revolution.

In the early 1920s, a group of Yucatecans, led by writer/photographer Francisco Gomez Rul, began working toward expanding tourism to Yucatán. They urged Governor Felipe Carrillo Puerto to build roads to the more famous monuments, including Chichen Itza. In 1923, Governor Carrillo Puerto officially opened the highway to Chichen Itza. Gomez Rul published one of the first guidebooks to Yucatán and the ruins.

Gomez Rul's son-in-law, Fernando Barbachano Peon (a grandnephew of former Yucatán Governor Miguel Barbachano), started Yucatán’s first official tourism business in the early 1920s. He began by meeting passengers who arrived by steamship at Progreso, the port north of Mérida, and persuading them to spend a week in Yucatán, after which they would catch the next steamship to their next destination. In his first year Barbachano Peon reportedly was only able to convince seven passengers to leave the ship and join him on a tour. In the mid-1920s Barbachano Peon persuaded Edward Thompson to sell 5 acres (20,000 m2) next to Chichen for a hotel. In 1930, the Mayaland Hotel opened, just north of the Hacienda Chichén, which had been taken over by the Carnegie Institution.

In 1944, Barbachano Peon purchased all of the Hacienda Chichén, including Chichen Itza, from the heirs of Edward Thompson. Around that same time the Carnegie Institution completed its work at Chichen Itza and abandoned the Hacienda Chichén, which Barbachano turned into another seasonal hotel.

In 1972, Mexico enacted the Ley Federal Sobre Monumentos y Zonas Arqueológicas, Artísticas e Históricas (Federal Law over Monuments and Archeological, Artistic and Historic Sites) that put all the nation's pre-Columbian monuments, including those at Chichen Itza, under federal ownership. There were now hundreds, if not thousands, of visitors every year to Chichen Itza, and more were expected with the development of the Cancún resort area to the east.

In the 1980s, Chichen Itza began to receive an influx of visitors on the day of the spring equinox. Today several thousand show up to see the light-and-shadow effect on the Temple of Kukulcan in which the feathered serpent god appears to crawl down the side of the pyramid.[nb 6] Tourists are also amazed by the acoustics at Chichen Itza. For instance a handclap in front of the staircase of the El Castillo pyramid is followed by an echo that resembles the chirp of a quetzal as investigated by Declercq.

Chichen Itza, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the second-most visited of Mexico's archaeological sites. The archaeological site draws many visitors from the popular tourist resort of Cancún, who make a day trip on tour buses. In 2007, Chichen Itza's El Castillo was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World after a worldwide vote. Despite the fact that the vote was sponsored by a commercial enterprise, and that its methodology was criticized, the vote was embraced by government and tourism officials in Mexico who project that as a result of the publicity the number of tourists expected to visit Chichen will double by 2012.[nb 7]

The ensuing publicity re-ignited debate in Mexico over the ownership of the site, which culminated on 29 March 2010 when the state of Yucatán purchased the land upon which the most recognized monuments rest from owner Hans Juergen Thies Barbachano.

Over the past several years, INAH, which manages the site, has been closing monuments to public access. While visitors can walk around them, they can no longer climb them or go inside their chambers. The most recent was El Castillo, which was closed after a San Diego, California, woman fell to her death in 2006.

Source: WIKIPEDIA

Chichén Itzá 4.7 Rating

Breathtaking. One of the greatest days of my vacation while in Mexico back in November of 2016. It was amazing, and so much to explore and see. We wen-- Megan L

Had a really great time there. The place is drenched in history and a really awesome spectacle. The pyramid echo effects are amazing. Had an overcast -- Tony DeRosa

It was amazing to see the ruins. Human history is an amazing thing. If you get a tour guide then they can share much of the interesting facts. The wri-- Carson Day

It's great to learn true history and not the misleading stuff they put on the television. I would recommend you go at night during the summer months, -- Jamayca Broughton

An absolutely incredible place that shows what amazing people the Mayans really were. Their beliefs and ceremonies have resulted in some incredible st-- John Marsh

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