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By Altamash Mir
When you consider the most famous, iconic and enchanting ruins in the world, you cannot help but to think of the infamous Chichen Itza. Located on the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico, Chichen Itza was once an enormous Mayan city long before nearby Columbia was even established. With more than one million visitors arriving to see this spectacular structure each year, it is now the most popular attraction in Mexico and an absolute must see for the tourists who arrive in neighboring resort towns such as the Riviera Maya or Cancun.
At the center of this incredible complex is the imposing pyramid El Castillo and incredibly, it dates as far back as 250 BC. Stretching outward from this pyramid you will also find the Temple of the Warriors and the Haunting Wall of Skulls but throughout this complex there is still the same intriguing atmosphere created by both the history behind the complex and the intricate nature of the carvings on each wall.
For anyone lucky enough to visit Chichen Itza after dark, there is also a spell binding light show which illuminates and then showcases the incredible geometry of these ancient structures.
On a walk through this long abandoned city you can also learn the fascinating history and fate of the race who once ruled over the region and this is often as interesting as the buildings themselves. In fact, the complex was abandoned many times over the centuries but then restored and rebuilt for unknown reasons. And then came the arrival of the Toltecs in 987 A.D, who conquered and then used the Itzas to rebuild Chichen Itza as a religious centre. The Toltecs were a very extreme people and they were the first to bring “human sacrifice” to the city and a reputation which has survived itself through movies and documentaries in the modern day. Later, in the sixteenth century, the Spanish discovered the region but it was not until several centuries later when it was rediscovered and a small form of restoration began.
Today you can find Chichen Itza restored to all its glory which is largely attributed to the Carnegie Institute and the Mexican government and it takes little for the visitor to imagine the ancient scenes in the city, such is the impressive nature of this incredible work. Rivalling that of ancient Greek and Egyptian, the Mayan history speaks of expert astronomers and intelligent mathematicians and their structures were so far ahead of the times which is emphasized in the extreme detail of every monument, wall and building.
Imposing and captivating at the same time, the Temple of Kukulkan is a great introduction to the advanced skills and workmanship of the peoples who inhabited Chichen Itza. With every step around this ancient city, you can also step back in time and with every sight, you can envision an ancient world which seems so far removed from modern civilization but then also so far ahead. Whether you visit Cancun or any region within reach of this awesome Mayan City, make it your business to check it out and you will find a very unique and truly unforgettable experience.
El Caracol, the Observatory