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Chichen Itza: Photos of Mexico’s Most Famous Mayan Ruins

The 30-meter tall Temple of Kukulkan, known as El Castillo (

The 30-meter tall Temple of Kukulkan, known as El Castillo (“the castle”)

[T]he Pre-Hispanic City of Chichen Itza is located on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, making for a long day trip from either Merida, or more commonly, the Mayan Riviera.

According to UNESCO:

Throughout its nearly 1,000-year history, different peoples have left their mark on the city. The Maya and Toltec vision of the world and the universe is revealed in their stone monuments and artistic works. The fusion of Mayan construction techniques with new elements from central Mexico make Chichen-Itza one of the most important examples of the Mayan-Toltec civilization in Yucatán.

While Chichen Itza was the Mayan ruins everyone in my group was most looking forward to at the start of our trip, Palenque turned out to be our favorite.

It may sound odd, but Chichen Itza seemed a little too well restored, too clean, too touristy, whereas Palenque was still very covered up by the jungle, with far fewer tourists.

For safety reasons, tourists are no longer allowed to climb El Castillo

For safety reasons, tourists are no longer allowed to climb El Castillo

The Great Ball Court at Chichen Itza is 150 meters long, the largest and best preserved of the 13 ball courts discovered in Mesoamerica

The Great Ball Court at Chichen Itza is 150 meters long, the largest and best preserved of the 13 ball courts discovered in Mesoamerica

The walls of the Great Ball Court are 8 meters high

The walls of the Great Ball Court are 8 meters high

Rings carved in the shapes of intertwined serpents are built high up on each of the side walls of the Great Ball Court

Rings carved in the shapes of intertwined serpents are built high up on each of the side walls of the Great Ball Court

Members of my G Adventures group stand in front of the Templo del Hombre Barbado (Temple of the Bearded Man) located at the northern end of the Great Ball Court

Members of my G Adventures group stand in front of the Templo del Hombre Barbado (Temple of the Bearded Man) located at the northern end of the Great Ball Court

During times of drought, the Mayans would perform sacrifices at this cenote, named Cenote Sagrado (Sacred Cenote).

During times of drought, the Mayans would perform sacrifices at this cenote, named Cenote Sagrado (Sacred Cenote).

Templo de los Guerreros (Temple of the Warriors)

Templo de los Guerreros (Temple of the Warriors)

El Caracol (The Snail) is believed to have been used as an observatory for astronomical events

El Caracol (The Snail) is believed to have been used as an observatory for astronomical events

La Iglesia (The Church) is a small temple decorated with carved carved masks

La Iglesia (The Church) is a small temple decorated with carved masks

A parting shot of El Castillo

A parting shot of El Castillo

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UNESCO

 

The Pre-Hispanic City of Chichen Itza became a World Heritage Site in 1988.

Click here for the full list of UNESCO sites Dave has visited during his travels.

 

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My Mexico Ancient Civilizations tour was in partnership with G Adventures

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