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Chichen Itza, Mexico

Pyramid at Chichen Itza, El Castillo
Mayan / Solar Calendar

Chichen Itza is one of the main archaeological sites on the Yucatan Peninsula, in Mexico. The name Chichen means "mouth of the well" and Itza refers to those who founded it, the Itzaes ("witches of the water") around the year 435.  Chichin Itza was sacred to the Maya peoples and a sophisticated urban center of the Mayan Civilization empire from A.D. 750 to 1200.

The pyramid at Chichen Itza, known as El Castillo, was built sometime in the 7th century and had an astronomical purpose – it is actually a solar calendar! Each of the four sides of the pyramid has 91 steps – and if you add those up, with the final step at the top of the temple platform, they total 365 – the number of days in their year – and the number of days in the solar calendar. There are other significant numbers from the Mayan calendar built into the architecture of El Castillo Pyramid at Chichen Itza!

Observatory at Old Chichen - El Caracol
 "El Caracol" translates to “spiral-shaped" or "snail" referring to the still standing spiral staircase inside the observatory dome)

The Observatory, El Caracol, is one of the oldest known observatories in the world. This ancient Mayan observatory building, possibly provided a way for the Mayan people to observe changes in the sky due to the flattened landscape of the Yucatán with no natural markers for this function around Chichen Itza.  ancient Maya civilization, as well as their advanced understanding of the heavens. Ancient astronomers could have viewed the stars in 360 degrees, tracking solstices, equinoxes, and eclipses. Remaining viewing windows seem to be designed specifically to track the appearance and disappearance of Venus in the night sky - thus measuring longer intervals of Earth's orbit.

Aerial Satellites Imaging of Yucatan Peninsula and Chichen Itza, Mexico
Aerial view of El Castillo Pyramid at Chichen Itza, Mexico
Aerial view of El Castillo Pyramid and the Observatory at Chichen Itza, Mexico

Top View

Side View

Perspective and Point of View

4 sided Pyramid

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