My first time in a Wonder of the New World – Chichen Itza
If Kukulcan’s temple could talk…
Its stories would be the greatest
I’ve always thought that our planet has an infinite number of fantastic places to show us and we need more than one lifetime to know them all and give ourselves a minimum idea of where we live and what’s outside my office and home walls. The beauty of our planet and what we’ve built on it is something that deserves to be known.
This is why when I learned that I was going to visit one of the 7 Wonders of the New World, chosen by millions of persons around the globe, I got so excited and impatient to be in that magical and historical place. But, what’s so special about the Kukulcan’s temple in the city of Chichen Itza?
A little bit of history
Before I got to the sacred city, I decided that the best way to visit it was doing a little research. I found a lot of info, but the most relevant part was that Chichen Itza turned into a famous center for Mayans’ commerce and religion.
It was founded in 525 a.C. and soon became the capital of the Yucatan’s Peninsula. It’s impressive how the culture, religion and the full astronomic knowledge of one civilization shaped the architecture of the place.
It’s important to know that Chichen Itza is the name of the city and not the famous building that you probably have seen in photos. That would be the Kukulcan’s temple, dedicated precisely to the god Kukulcan, the feathered snake that is present in a lot of cultures around Mexico.
My walk through Chichen Itza
The whole Xichén Deluxe Tour, from boarding the bus, is a pleasant experience. The guides are very prepared for every question about the Mayan culture and other important stuff in your visit. They turned the tour into a very informative trip where you will know a lot of impressive and valuable data about the ancient cultures of Mexico.
When you get down the bus, you’ll feel the scorching weather. Despite everything, I was only thinking that building a city in that place with that weather in the middle of the jungle was nuts! But soon that thought passed away… I was just about walking through a sacred city!
You can feel the magic of the place with every step you take through its paths. There’s a lot of expectation, and you can feel your heart beating hard. 1,000 years ago an entirely different civilization was walking through the same road. Imagination takes a prominent place: you can feel that you are in that magical world where ancient gods ruled the world.
Soon, the road that was covered by the shadows of the jungle tres started to break, and one amazing building showed itself. I discovered that it was the biggest ball game of Mesoamerica, where the Mayans used to pay tribute to the gods, and it was an exclusive show for the upper class. What I would give to watch it!
The best of the tour, with no doubts, is the Kukulcan’s temple, dedicated to the most important god in several ancient cultures of Mexico. Seeing it takes your breath away, with its high, architectural perfection. Everything on it is beautiful, magical and mystical. It is covered by culture, wisdom, and religion. The whole history of one civilization rests on its stones. If this temple could talk, it would tell the greatest stories.
But if its perfection is not enough for you, here’s a fact that will amaze you: The sum of the steps of its stairs is 365, one for each day of the Mayan calendar and the one that rules us actually. It’s impressive considering that it took a good amount of time to the European culture to reach this same calculation through hundreds of years of adjustments!
Besides, two enormous feathered snakeheads rest on the base of one side of the temple. It is, no more no less, the head of Kukulkan and during the equinox’s sunsets, the light creates a shadow over the building that simulates a snake getting down the stairs of the temple. As if Kukulcan himself was touching the ground.
I can only think of the great astronomic knowledge that Mayans had: it helped build a conscience and meaning for the religion for a whole culture. They used astronomy to “magically” predict effects in the world thanks to their experience and calculations, and they used it to rule and keep the faith of an entire civilization.
They had that knowledge thanks to years of observation of the stars, but how did they do it? Well, the second important building in Chichen Itza is The Observatory, a construction with an amazing stone dome.
With no doubts, the city of Chichen Itza is one of the most amazing places that I have had the chance of seeing with my own eyes. I’m happy to know that in Mexico existed cultures that created these marvels based on its knowledge and observation.
When I got out of the sacred city I had more questions than answers, but only one wish: I wanted to know every wonder of our world.
The trip is not over yet. The tour continued with the visit to a cenote, a natural marvel that erosion of wind and water has created for millions of years. It is a hole in the ground with crystalline water. Mayans attributed them sacred meaning, and they used them for religious purposes and sacrifices.
I thought that it was going to be difficult to be amazed again in only one day, but the visit to the Casona of Valladolid made it. From the architecture of the place to the food, everything is spectacular. A great show of what is Mexico in a single location. The culinary art of the Yucatecan cuisine centered in one colonial Casona. It is a magical experience.
My trip could not have been better. I met Chichen Itza, a sacred cenote, and an old Casona. I can’t wait to get to know more impressive places of Mexico and the world.