October 13, 2008

Cancun: Day 3

We scheduled a tour of Chichen Itza today (Mayan ruins declared as one of the new 7 Wounders of the World). This is by far the most interesting thing I have ever seen.

(below) On the way to the ruins we stopped at a Cenote (a natural sink hole in the limestone). You were allowed to swim in it and this particular Cenote was 50 meters deep.

(below) Val spotted this little lizard outside the restaurant we ate lunch at before heading to the ruins. He was only about an inch and a half long.

Finally we arrived at the site

(below) The Temple of the Jaguars to the right with the Great Ball Court to the left within.

(below) View of inside the Great Ball Court. Note the scoring rings on the side walls. It is believed that either the winning or losing captain of the teams playing was sacraficed after the match. The field is about twice the length of a football field, if you look close you can see a person standing under the scoring ring on the left, this will give you an idea of the scale of this court.

(below) Close up of the scoring ring

(below) Temple of the Jaguars from inside the Great Ball Court. The Pyramid of Kukulan is beyond.

(below) The Temple of the Warriors

(below) Close up of some of the detail at the Temple of the Warriors

(below) This is part of the Group of 1000 Columns

(below) The Sacred Cenote. Human sacrafice and precious stones were offered to this Cenote from a platform overlooking it.

(Below) The Pyramid of Kukulan. Each face of the four-sided structure has a stairway with ninety-one steps, which together with the shared step of the platform at the top, add up to 365, the number of days in a year. These stairways also divide the nine terraces of each side of the pyramid into eighteen segments, representing the eighteen months of the Mayan calendar.

(below) The Pyramid of Kukulan with the Temple of the Warriors beyond.

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