Because of the HUGE response I got from my Mexico post…
Side bar: there was no response. At all.
ANYWAY! Because of the huge response I got from my Mexico post, I’m here to tell you more about the Chichen Itza experience.
Very interesting history. By the way, I’m glad the Mayans were wrong about the end of the world. (I’m thinking they just got bored with writing the calendar…) That’s neither here nor there.
As mentioned, it is quite possible our guide at Chichen Itza was making up 80% of the things he told us. I’m choosing to believe it was 100% fact. Here are some of the fun facts we got to learn about Chichen Itza and the ancient Mayans (only 20% guaranteed to be true):
- The carvings on many ancient structures depict pumas, jaguars and birds. These animals are carved in a sitting position, as they then represent warriors.
- The Mayans built pyramids over pyramids. That is to say Chichen Itza has a tiny baby pyramid inside it. Only the baby pyramid will never be born…and is older than the one on the outside. I’m thinking the baby metaphor was a terrible one…
- The Mayans constructed all of their architecture without the wheel or metal.
- In searching to explain why hundreds of thousands of Mayans would perform the back-breaking work of constructing these structures (again, without the wheel or metal), archeologists think one possibility is the high priests performed cranial deformation from a young age, as well as teeth deformation. They were looked upon as demigods, and therefore were obeyed. (Google “cranial deformation“, I dare you.)
- The Mayans had many gods. My favorite is the rain god, Chaac. Because of his huge nose. I am that superficial. (They also had a corn god. Since there is no longer any wild corn, does that mean the Mayan corn god is dead? Or does she now oversee all the scientific improvements in corn in the last 3000 years?)
- Behind the Chichen Itza pyramid is a field of columns. Engraved on these columns are warriors. You can see they are warriors by their feathered headdress and by the fact that the engraving is wearing a jaguar skin and holding a weapon. There are 700 columns in all, however they are called “the 1000 columns” after a story about a boy who was asked by a priest to count them. He spent the day playing instead, and at the end of the day reported that there were 1000.
- There is an arena standing near Chichen Itza where three different styles of games were played. This court is the biggest in all of Mexico at 167 meters high.
- There is also a platform engraved with skulls. It was on top of this platform that sacrifices were performed. As reiterated by our guide, human sacrifice was rare and it was a high honor to be offered as a sacrifice, the sacrifices were willing.
I hope you had as much fun learning these 8 fun facts as I did. They were the ones I didn’t distinctly remember learning in school. Which adds to the theory that they may only be 20% true. Or my memory isn’t perfect. Either or.
This adventure was certainly worth it, and for those of you out there interested in a little history on your vacation I say this is a good way to go.
Also, don’t belive the guys out front selling hats. There is shade inside the walls surrounding the pyramid, and you will not melt in the sun.