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Chichen Itza – Mexico

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The traces of the prehistoric civilizations are wonders of the world as they tell about the thoughts and working of the then existing men. A glorious example of this is the Chichen Itza which preserves the traces of the Maya civilization. This archaeological site which is also a popular tourist destination is located in the Yucatan State of Mexico. It has a number of stone structures and architecture which throw light on the belief and practises of Mayan civilization who built this city in between 750 to 1200 AD.

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The maintenance of the Chichen Itza is a responsibility of the Mexico National Institute of Anthropology and History. It is an extremely important revenue earner for Mexico with nearly 1.3 million tourists visiting it every year.

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The English translation of Chichen Itza is “At the mouth of the well of the Itza”. As per historic evidence Chichen Itza developed to be the political, economic, and socio cultural power centre of the Maya civilization in the northern part of the Yucatan Peninsula. Thereafter, it was around 1250 CE, when the downfall of the Chichen Itza started happening as a power centre although it still remained populated. During those times and later Chichen Itza faced the assault of the Spaniards and it was then that the existing population of the Maya civilization freed it from the Spanish clutches. However, after going through so much it is known that the people certainly abandoned Chichen Itza to turn into a jungle leaving behind the brilliant architectural structures.

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In the modern times the references of the Chichen Itza archaeological site started happening through some books and then through archaeologists who chose the site for their study. It was during these studies and excavations that the structures like the Temple of Warriors, Caracol, El Castillo, and the Great Ball Court were restored back.  Amongst the above mentioned structures of the Chichen Itza, the El Castillo or the Temple of Kukulkan which is a pyramid shaped Mayan temple with 365 steps and indicates the importance of astronomy in the Mayan culture has got listed in the Seven Wonders of the World.

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Yet another wonder of the site is the Great Ball Court which is known to be the largest in America. It is known to have conducted ritual games and competitions of fierce nature. The other attractions include Temple of the Jaguars, Interior Temple, Platform of skulls, Cenote of Sacrifice and so on. During the night time light shows get arranged at the site for tourists.

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Though the ruins of Chichen Itza open daily for the tourists but, the best visiting times of are known to be during the evenings of spring or autumn when shadow of serpent is visible on the El Castillo and moves downwards. As the normal temperature at the site during day is around 34 degrees so, many visitors stay near the Chichen Itza so that they can visit during morning when the rush is usually less. The best way of reaching Chichen Itza is by road from either Merida or Cancun.

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