All photos © Derek Storm
Chichen Itza was a large pre-Columbian city built by the Maya people from Late Classic (AD 600-900) through Terminal Classic (AD 800-900) and into early portions of Postclassic period (AD 900-1200).
Dominating the North Platform is the "Temple of Kukulkan (A Maya feathered serpent deity) also referred to as "El Castillo." On the Spring and Autumn equinoxes, in the last afternoon, the northwest corner of the pyramid casts a series of triangular shadows against the western balustrade on the north side evokes the appearance of a serpent wriggling down the staircase from the tip of the pyramid forming the tail going straight down to the head.
The Kukulkan serpent in view on the day of the equinox, September 22nd at about 4:45pm.
The Temple of Warriors complex consists of a large stepped pyramid fronted and flanked by rows of carved columns depicting warriors. At the top of the stairway is a Chac Mool, where sacrifices were made.
The largest cenote (natural sinkhole) in the Yucatan peninsula is on the Chichen Itza complex called The Cenote Sagrado. This was a place of pilgrimage for ancient Maya people who would conduct sacrifices during times of drought.
"El Caracol" ("The Snail") is a round building on a large square platform theorized to have been a proto-observatory with doors and windows aligned to astronomical events, specifically around the path of Venus.
Mask of the Water God with "fertility symbol" protruding out of right ear.
Ik Kil Cenote is just outside the Chichen Itza ruins in Tinum. It is 200 feet in diameter and 130 feet deep. There are vines reaching the opening all the way down to the water and small black catfish that swim regularly. Cenote Ik Kil is sacred to the Mayans who used it for both relaxation and ritual services.
Ek Balam is a Yucatec-Maya site within Temozon in the mid-east of the Northern lowlands and 32 miles northeast of Chichen Itza. From the Preclassic until Postclassic period, it was the seat of a Mayan kingdom. "The Acropolis" on the north side of the site is the largest structure and believed to contain the tomb of Ukit Kan Le'k Tok'
The Acropolis and view from the top