This is the first Wednesday Wonders of the WonderLesch blog that will be exploring all of the new wonders of the world, join me on a trip through what these amazing places have to offer! Who knows? You might end up booking a trip yourself.
Chichén Itzá is a wonderful complex of temples and ancient structures. It is known for being a ceremonial site, where sacrifices and rituals were carried out regularly. Nowadays, we can look upon the greatness of the architectural, cultural, and even astronomical wonders that the Mayan people of the present Yucatán left behind.
Filled with old temples and ruins, Chichén Itzá is located in the southernmost part of Mexico in the state of Yucatán, and is now part of the legacy of the Mayan civilization, who in the year 300 AD founded the city. Experts speculate that this city was built in a context of fearsome wars and it was not until the 900s that it became an important political centre.
Particularly, the Kukulcan temple is deemed by many as the most impressive of them all. It is our first wonder of the world, placed in the middle of Chichén Itzá. It does not exceed other pyramids like Giza or “Pirámide del Sol”, but it is the engineering and planning that set it aside from anything that we have found in the world.
When the tropical sun shines bright in Yucatán, particularly on the equinoxes and solstices of each year, we can see light and shadow phenomenons happen, resembling the descent of a snake through the pyramid’s body. This is so impressive because, if we recall our history lessons, Mayans didn’t have access to telescope nor astronomical measuring tools. We’re talking about the 1200s here, and these guys made a huge structure, so precise that even modern day architecture would struggle to recreate something similar.
When talking about the architectural and technological advancements, the main attraction is the Venus Temple. This peculiar circular building was used as an astronomical observatory and, as its name suggests, was mainly used by the Mayans to track the movements of Venus. This planet has a special meaning in the Mayan mythology, due to its shine, it was considered the god of war and the twin brother of the sun.
On the other hand to clear your head from all the history and if you are feeling adventurous, you might even take a trip into the sacred cenote… but wait, what even is a cenote?
A cenote is a natural freshwater pond that is supplied by an underground river, formed in places like the Yucatan Peninsula due to soil erosion. In the past, this “wells” were used as ceremonial sites for human sacrifices and rituals, but nowadays, they offers tourists the chance to experience their immense natural beauty. Most of them are located in the middle of the tropical jungle, with a deep crystalline pond in the middle. It combines both parts of Yucatán’s rich history, it’s ancient history and diverse flora and fauna.
Apart from its stunning beauty, it has a great historical importance as it holds many of Mexico’s most important archaeological sites when it comes to pre-colonial civilizations. As we mentioned before, it was the capital of the Mayan civilization, and as such archaeologists have found antique reliques in the form of statues, pendants, vessels and many other “commonly” used items that are now part of the Sitio de Chichén Itzá museum.
If you’re feeling like you need to take a trip somewhere different and witness a world-class attraction for a very reasonable price, visiting Yucatán, Mexico will leave the most demanding of tourists with a big smile. The tropical weather, its magnificent temple – part of the new wonders of the world – as well as its diverse and specially delicious Mexican food combine together to form a touristic destination like no other.
Visit Chichén Itzá to experience all of these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities clustered together in one place for you to enjoy. Let me know in the comments if you have visited this place before!