11 Facts About Chichen Itza (You Should Know Before Visiting)?

Chichen Itza, decades after its claim as one of the Seven Wonders of the New World, still brings in more curious tourists to its limestone facades. Even though many of its mysteries have been uncovered, still many more remain.
11 Facts About Chichen Itza
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Regarded as one of the Mayan Civilization’s greatest wonders, Chichen Itza doesn’t run out of reasons to keep visitors coming, and experts baffling. The facts you’ll discover about this ancient Mayan city is as enticing as its beauty.

When Was Chichen Itza Built?

There are many accounts as to when was the ancient city built. Some accounts say that the initial building of the city started around 400 CE, some say that most of the structures started rising at 550 CE.

While some accounts say that the city’s rise to prominence was during the 600s CE, it was this time that Chichen Itza was seeing its completion.

Upon its continuous discoveries over the years, Chichen Itza’s main pyramid and other notable structures were, in fact, rebuilt again and again. Due to many factors over the millennia, like catastrophic events, structures have to be rebuilt.

With this, multiple accounts have stemmed, some experts even say that Chichen Itza stood for more than a thousand years.

How Old Is the Chichen Itza?

If you look it up, most sources would say the ancient Mayan city is over 1,500 years old. While recent discoveries have concluded otherwise.

Studies done to El Castillo, Chichen Itza’s main pyramid, made a discovery that changed the initial assumption. Through the use of non-invasive electronic imaging, experts found out that there are layers of pyramids underneath El Castillo, older than 1,500 years.

Which Civilization Founded the Chichen Itza?

Built by the ancient Mayan people, Chichen Itza was an important city to the Mayan people native to the Yucatan Peninsula. Chichen Itza was a seat of economic power and influence in the Yucatan, through a “multepal” system, was ruled by a council from elite ruling lineages.

How Did the Mayans Build Chichen Itza?

Every structure in Chichen Itza is built by stone, by placing adobe bricks and covered with limestone, with a solid rubble core held in place by walls.

It’s also thought that the Mayans did not use the wheel to build their structures and buildings, unlike the Ancient Egyptians.

What Kind of Stone Is Chichen Itza Made of?

Just like the resort of the ancient world, Chich Itza’s structures are also made of limestone. Limestone is a common material in building soaring structures in ancient civilizations.

They can be formed with the help of calcite that can be found in clear, calm, warm, shallow, marine waters. Limestone deposits may have been derived from Chichen Itza’s ports or even around the Yucatan.

How Big Is the Chichen Itza?

Chichen Itza is approximately 10 sq. km or a thousand hectares wide. And, the tallest structures, El Castillo, the city’s central pyramid is about 30 meters or 98 feet tall.

What Is the Purpose of Chichen Itza?

Chichen Itza’s purpose isn’t solely to house the Mayan people but it’s also a center for pilgrimage and religious worship for the ancient Mayans. It’s a center for trade and worship in the northern Yucatan, the biggest Mayan city to date in Mexico.

What Does Chichen Itza Symbolize?

Since Chichen Itza is a site of religious importance, most of its structures especially the central pyramid, El Castillo, were devoted to the ancient Mayan gods. So to say, the entire Chichen Itza was a monument to the gods, a religious symbol for the Mayan people.

Why Was Chichen Itza Important to the Mayans?

Chichen Itza’s value wasn’t only centered around pilgrimage and religion, it was also the primary hub for trade and economy. VIa its influence and economic power over the Mayan peninsula, Chichen Itza also trades goods, including gold and other treasures, with other cities throughout the ancient Americas.

What Was the Pyramid at Chichen Itza Used for?

The pyramid of El Castillo, the heart of Chichen Itza was used to worship the Mayan deity Kukulkan, the feathered serpent god. The pyramid is dedicated to Kukulkan’s descent from the sky every equinox, to commune with his worshippers, providing blessing and bounty.

With 91 steps ascending to the peak in all four sides of the pyramid totals 364, with the temples at the top adding one more step, bringing a to of 365.

The pyramid’s interesting design is also a reference to the Mayan’s genius in astronomy. The temple was built to be a physical representation of the Mayan calendar.

What Happened Every March 21 in Chichen Itza?

March 21 is the spring equinox, it is where the dark hours and light hours are equal. An astronomical phenomenon that happens all over the world. However, in Chichen Itza’s spirit, this is supposedly the time where Kukulkan descends from the sky.

Today, the equinox in Chichen Itza will hold a light and shadows show that attracts visitors. As the sun makes its way to the horizon, several shadows appear on one of the faces at El Castillo. This showcases the precision of the El Castillo’s alignment to the sun rays during the equinox.

As the sun goes down, seven triangular shadows will be projected on the north side of the building. The shadows form resembles the body of a snake, symbolizing the descent of Kukulkan.

Who Was the Leader of Chichen Itza?

Chichen Itza was never ruled by a single person. It is governed by a council, whose members are from elite ruling families through a “multepal” system. However, this theory was put in question. Experts contended that it may have been ruled by a single dynastic lineage.

Chichen Itza was ruled and inhabited by the Itza people who have prominence in the Yucatan in the Post-classic period of prehispanic Mesoamerica. The Itza people were thought to be originated from Guatemala.

Who Lived in Chichen Itza?

The Mayan people of the Yucatan live in Chichen Itza since its construction up to its decline around 1,000 CE.

How Many Mayans Lived in Chichen Itza?

In its initial years, the population was said to be around 35,000. As the city grew and progressed, experts believed it housed over 50,000 inhabitants during its hay day.

Why Did the Mayans Abandon Chichen Itza?

It was believed that a complex combination of factors led to the abandonment of the city. From wars, revolutions, to overpopulation and other environmental factors Chichen Itza fell to degradation. It was totally abandoned when the Spanish came and conquered the Yucatan.

Does Chichen Itza Still Exist?

Chichen Itza, or what remains of it still stands to this day. The important temples and pyramids are preserved and protected, despite the tourism. Chichen Itza also remains to be a place of mystery and continued research.

What Is the Chichen Itza Used for Today?

Chichen Itza is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the Yucatan, one of the Seven Wonders of the New World, it attracts visitors from all over the world. Since its reopening, Chichen Itza is also a site for research and study, helping experts uncover more about the ancient Mayans.