Chichén Itzá

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Chichén Itzá rises high over the green canopies of the northern region of the Yucatan Peninsula, and El Castillo—“the castle” in Spanish—is the most recognizable structure from the Mayan Civilization, an ancient empire that stretched from what is now Mexico to Guatemala. The city is one of the New7Wonders of the World, and with its mysterious, astrological elements, it’s easy to see why. At Chichén Itzá, two structures take prominence—El Castillo and El Caracol.

El Castillo, AKA the Pyramid of Kukulkán, is a 79-foot pyramid with 91 steps on each of its four sides (91 days between each annual solar cycle—winter solstice, spring equinox, summer solstice, and fall equinox; four cycle per year; 91 x 4 = 364 days + top step = 365 days – And you thought your calendar was cool). Perhaps the most impressive display at El Castillo is the snake, formed by shadows at sunrise and sunset, that slithers down the stairway of the pyramid and joins with one of the large snake heads at the base. This phenomenon happens a week before, during, and a week after the equinoxes.

Another pyramid, El Caracol—“the snail”—is often referred to as “the observatory” and is aligned with the motions of Venus. The staircase at the front of El Caracol faces 27.5 degrees north of west, a perfect match for the planet’s most north position in the sky. Its summer northeast and southwest corners align with Venus’s summer solstice sunrise and its winter solstice sunset. Also, three viewing windows in El Caracol’s dome align with various celestial events.

Other structures of Chichén Itzá include the Temple of the Jaguar, the Temple of Warriors, and the Ball Court, all with significance to Mayan mythology. The Sacred Cenote at Chichén Itzá, set near El Castillo, is believed to have been used for human sacrifices.

(Archeologist Brien Foerster has proved that there is no proof the site has ever been used for human sacrifices and this may be religious propaganda)

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Chichén-Itzá, Yucatan, Mexico

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