Chichén Itzá and Ik Kil

24. August 2018

I was in Mexico ten years ago, but for some strange reason I didn’t visit Chichén Itzá on that trip. Even though it is the most prominent of all Mayan ruins in Mexico.

But this time we didn’t commit the same mistake again and booked a hotel right next to those famous ruins. We got up early, arrived even before the doors were open and were the first to see the majestic step pyramid, known as El Castillo or Temple of Kukulcan.

It is so beautiful and well restored that you could just sit there for hours and admire it. It is also a calendar with its nine platforms divided by four stairs. Therefore, all four sides show 18 platforms that correspond to the 18 months of the Mayan calendar. There are also 91 steps on each stairway, adding the top platform it sums up to 365 steps, which is the amount of days of the Mayan year. The pyramid is also constructed in a way that during the summer solistice it creates a shadow that looks like a snake, named Quetzalcoatl, climbing up the pyramid and during the winter solistice climbing down again.

But the herds of tourists that arrived soon made it easier for us to let go and explore the other buildings surrounding the main pyramid. Among many others there was a huge ball court as on every major Mayan site, where they used to play their deadly game symbolizing the conflict of good and evil. It is a long court with a stone ring on either of the long sides. Winner of the game was the one player who managed to score three times by hitting the rubber ball with his body through one of the stone rings. The winner earned wealth and glory, the looser sometimes got killed.

Luckily, we didn’t have to participate in that game as the heat alone would probably have killed us, but had the possibility to cool off at the Ik Kil cenote instead. It is an impressive big hole in the ground, 26m below the surface and 40m in depth, with plants and little waterfalls at its horizontal walls. Definitely one of our favorite cenotes we visited in Mexico!

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