It has been 15 years since we lasted visited Chichen Itza. I am anxious to see how this area has changed.
Kev and I chose a hotel close to one of the "Seventh Wonders of the New World" so that we would not need to ride or worry about parking the bikes. By 8 am we were waiting, by the back entrance all coffeeeeed up, ready to go.
Wow….I have to say that Chichen Itza has unfortunately turned into an opportunistic, somewhat flea markety tourist trap! Vendors are densely scattered amongst the still impressive majestic ruins eager to sell their wares. I previously remembered that the jungle surrounding Chichen Itza being lush and green, now there are dusty pathways leading into the jungle lightly scattered with litter that the vendors use to store their wooden tables, planks and poles for their stalls. It is really quite sad. All of the pyramids, buildings and structures on the site are roped off now, and the swarm of tourists from all over the world follow the crushed quartz path like sheep. You will hear this random continuous clapping of hands if you are around the main pyramid. Tourists veer off the quartz path here, to face the pyramid and clap their hands, listening for the echoed response resinating out from the top of the pyramid. It is a cool feature! Fifteen years ago there were no entrance fees, no pathways, no vendors, no cafe's, no bathrooms and none of the ruins were roped off.
Mayan history starts in the Yucatan around 2600 BC. The Maya developed astronomy, calendrical systems and hieroglyphic writing. The Maya were also noted for elaborate and highly decorated ceremonial architecture, including temple-pyramids, palaces and observatories, all built without metal tools They were skilled farmers, weavers and potters and excelled in clearing large sections of jungle to develop extensive trade routes and foster networks with distant people.
Chichen Itza was first occupied between 500 and 900 AD, abandoned around 900 AD, then resettled 100 years later only to be completely vacated around 1300. Chichen Itza is one of the largest Maya cities and means "At the mouth of the well at the Itza", Itza meaning source. There are 2 large natural cenotes that supplied water to the area year round making it an attractive site for settlement. The Cenote Sagrado, Sacred Cenote or Well of Sacrifice was an important place for the Mayans. Not only a water source but a place of worship for the Maya culture. Precious objects like jade and pottery were offered to the cenote to appease the Maya Rain God Chaac…the most precious of all being human. Children and young men were of most interest to Chaac.