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Many years ago, a group of warriors called the Itzá, conquered a city in what is today part of the Yucatan * in Mexico. They called it Chichén-Itzá, which means place of the "mouth of the well of the Itzá".

The area around Chichén-Itzá had a least two such wells called cenotes, the most famous being the Cenote of Sacrifice.

The Mayas who lived in Chichén-Itzá built many palaces, temples, monuments, edifices, structures, shrines, They not only were powerful warriors but also wise men who studied the stars.

Many kings governed the city and gave orders to construct higher and higher buildings. As the Mayas were great artists, they painted them with many colors and decorated them with beautiful sculptures. In many of them you can see a feathered snake. It was its main god named Kukulcán .

Their wise priests had an observatory built in the shape of a shell to study the stars and foretell the future. They also had their own ball games. To practice it they built a great ball court with walls and stands. They played with rubber balls that they should pass through rings of stone. Only the kings, the priests, and the most important warriors lived in the great palaces. The common people lived in huts made of straw located near the pyramids.

One day, the Mayas of Chichén-Itzá decided to leave their city. Archaeologists do not know why but they left and the city remained silent in the middle of the Yucatan jungle.

We were fortunate to visit the city in December 2000. Its temples and palaces are still standing and Kukulcán's shadow descends to earth every Spring on a wall of the great pyramid that is called The Castle.

Structures on the PyramidClick here to go back

Pages Created: Wednesday, 15-March-2001
Photographs by Aquair Muhammad, PhD,
images © 2001

Web pages written and designed by Aquair Muhammad