Chichen Itza was one of the greatest Mayan centers of the Peninsula of Yucatan. Throughout its nearly 1,000 years history, different peoples have left their mark on this city. The Maya and Toltec vision of the world and the universe is revealed in their artistic works and stone monuments. Several buildings have survived.
In the northern region of the Yucatan peninsula, on a limestone plateau lie the relics of Chichen Itza, once one of the most powerful cities of the Maya. Ruins of the temples of this ancient civilization spread from the Guatemala jungles to the Yucatan. Today, Chichen Itza attracts millions of visitors who come to marvel at the spectacular remains.
Walk through the ancient ruins, and you come upon it suddenly, with indrawn breath. Alone in the midst of a vast green lawn, the central pyramid at Chichén Itzá, known as El Castillo, rears up over the surrounding area. This is the Pyramid of Kukulkcán, the feathered serpent god who ruled the Maya pantheon during the later period of Chichén Itzá’s flowering.
Climb the huge stone steps of the Pyramid to the tiny sacrificial chamber, and you can see the forest stretching to the horizon in every direction. The huge green lawn spreads below you, and the other major structures appear small: the Temple of the Jaguar, the Temple of the Warriors, and the Ball Court. Stay for a while, here where it’s believed that the Mayan rulers offered human sacrifices and sat in conversation with the gods. Watch the sun move across the sky, watch the rain clouds sweep in.
Look at the buildings around you. In addition to providing evidence of Mayan knowledge about the cosmos, the architecture at Chichén Itzá preserves the mythology of the Maya. Study the site carefully and you can see a deep-rooted embodiment of Mayan myth, including the emergence of humans from the primordial sea.
According to some interpretations of the Mayan creation myth, in the beginning, there was no separation between earth and sky. Mayan texts often refer to this as the “lying down sky place,” and inscribed images of the events of this time are often represented on a black background, possibly indicating that they took place in darkness or underwater. The first father, the Maize God, planted a World Tree, the pillar that lifted the sky above the earth, creating the space for human life.
Source – Exploratorium