Monday, July 2, 2012

Mexico - Chichen Itza

We got up early on Friday morning for a tour to Chichen Itza, a Mayan temple inland from Cancun on the Yucatan Peninsula. Warning: This entry is quite picture heavy!

It was really, really hot.  Now, I can handle extreme temps living in Phoenix, Arizona where it can get over 120 degrees, but I can not deal with humidity. I was sweating buckets. But seeing Mayan ruins is on my bucket list and now I can cross that off!

The construction of this site amazing. There are many other Mayan temples scattered around, and some are a lot larger than this one (although this one is certainly not small) but apparently, Chichen Itza (pronounced Chee Chen Eat Za) is one of the most sacred. The main and largest pyramid is solid with with a new temple being built over the old temple every time the Mayans adjusted their calendars.

Kimberlee and me
Next, we visited the Great Ball Court. I don't remember the specifics, but basically, the Mayans would have a competion to please the gods. There were two teams, representing different gods and the leader of the winning team would be sacrificed by beheading. Believe it or not, this was a great honor and the sacrificed captian would go directly to paradise. This competition could take days.

The goal was to get a ball through a tiny hoop using their feet. Let's get a little perspective, shall we?

They have to get a ball through that tiny hole. With their feet.

With their feet!!

Entrance to the Great Ball Court

On the side of the Great Ball Court is the Temple of the Jaguars.

The Platform of The Eagles and The Jaguars represent the warriors that presented the victims of sacrifice for the gods.

The Temple of the Warriors is the only structure at Chichen Itza that can actually hold large groups of people.

Around the Temple of the Warriors are the Thousand Columns. At one time there was a roof above the columns and it is believed that these were meeting places.

Indiana Jones Jay

The Ossario, also known as the High Priests' Grave, is built over a natural cave. When it was excavated, human remains were found, but it is not believed to be an actual grave site or tomb.

The Observatory, or El Caracol, is a huge structure that seems to be aligned with the movements of Venus. The top of the Observatory is not perfectly aligned (according to our guide) because only the gods could reflect perfection. Humans were incapable of creating anything perfect and in order to not anger the gods, the buildings show imperfect architectual designs.

The last area we visited is called the Nunnery, named by the Spanish because it reminded them of buildings back home.

On the way out, I snapped a few more pictures of the main temple.

Bucket list: Chichen Itza: CHECK!

If anyone can tell me why my spell check no longer seems to work on Blogger and how I can fix it, I would greatly appreciate it!


  1. that is really pretty amazing- what year(s) was all that stuff built?? i really can't imagine how so much amazing stuff was accomplished without modern tools, and they were so incredibly savvy that they were like, we could do this right, but we'll screw it up just a little to remain humble. uh, wow. i can barely put legos together.

    1. The crazy thing is that a new temple was built over the old temple over and over. I can't really remember why. Something to do with he Mayans adjusting their calendars. But yeah, I can barely hang a picture, so it's really impressive.

  2. *I had the same spell check question!!

    My mom went down there on her honeymoon and when she got home she was telling me all the same stories you just put in here -- but she didn't have pictures to go with it. Oh my gosh, that little hole for the ball? Crazy! Maybe I'm silly - but I think I'd want to be on the LOSING team!!

    1. No kidding, right? Or guide tried to convince us it was a great honor, but um, I'm buying it!

  3. Hi - me again! I just looked at your race schedule. I think I counted 5 that we were both at? Let me recount -- Princess, Disneyland, Vegas, WDW 1/2, WDW Relay - yep, that would be FIVE!!

    1. Wow, crazy! Especially since we're not from the same states! But it seems that we can't stay away from Disney races, and I already know you'll be doing Goofy, so yeah! Let's take pics!!!


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