Here we are at Chichen Itza—-the most famous of the Mayan Archeological Sites in Yucatan! El Castillo is the centerpiece, of course, which we were lucky enough to see in the early morning with nary another visitor. Chichen Itza was settled initially by the Maya, but in the 10th century was invaded by the Toltecs, who brought the cult of the ‘plumed serpent,’ Quetzalcoatl, to add to the Mayan rain god, Chac Mool. El Castillo is designed so that on the vernal and autumnal equinoxes the sun makes shadows that depict a serpent ascending or descending the staircase.
The Temple of the Warriors is Toltec but a Mayan Chac Mool has been put atop it, which sits right next to the Toltec Plumed Serpent.
The ball court was central to the city. There are actually eight ball courts but this one is the largest in all of Mexico. The game demanded that the players hit the ball through one of the side hoops to ‘score.’ Sometimes the loosing players were sacrificed by decapitation, depicted on the walls of the court.
El Caracol (‘The Snail’ as the Spaniards called it) is thought to have been an astronomical observatory. From the dome, the priests determined times for planting, rituals and celebrations by observing the stars.
Uxmal Archeological Site is also a very important pure Mayan site. Settled about 600 AD and abandoned about 900 AD it nevertheless played an important part in Mayan times.
Jeanne and I arrived late in the day, staying at the Uxmal Hotel right on the site. There was a lovely lobby with a beautiful grand piano, which I played—-to an empty lobby.
It was fun, though, to pretend I was a real musician.
We were treated to a light and sound show after dark, and continued exploring the site the next day.
The Palace of the Governors is a beautiful Mayan building with a very intricate facade.
The ‘Dovecote,’ so called because it reminded the Spanish Conquistadors of Moorish dovecotes in Spain, was once part of a quadrangle.
And the Nun’s Quadrangle is a most impressive building.Staying at the Uxmal Hotel was truly a respite, with lovely accommodations, good food, and beautiful views from the terrace of the lovely Uxmal Archeological Site. Tomorrow we shall continue with our explorations of Yucatan.