Chichén Itzá

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Chichén Itzá - "the mouth of the well of the Itzás."

The most dominant features of Chichén Itzá are the giant pyramid Castillo, or Kulkulkan, the Temple of the Jaguars, and the ballcourt.

Around 550 AD, Mayans settled Chichén around two wells; one sacred and one "profane," used for everyday use. Water was critical for this community. Though located in a rain forest, there were no lakes or streams to provide fresh water. The land was flat, porous limestone that rain seeped through to became trapped in the insolvent bedrock below. These wells then were the life blood of the community.

Chichén Itzá, like other Mayan cities, was a spiritual center amidst decentralized farming communities. It was not a commercial center, although some trade undoubtedly took place there. Chichén Itzá, like the other Mayan cities, was abandoned for a time. But In 964 CE, the Itzás, a Maya-speaking people from the Petén rain forest, settled Chichén Itzá. Later, the more war-like Toltecs invaded and took over the city.

There is no consensus among scholars as the cause. One theory, backed up by geological evidence, is that there was a severe drought around this time. However the archeological evidence is not entirely consistent. The abandonment has not yet been fully explained. The Mayans returned to and resettled their cities around 1000 CE. Chichén Itzá's architecture has two distinctive styles; traditional Mayan architecture, and more recent Toltec architecture. The Toltecs were another more warlike tribe who invaded Chichén Itzá around the year 800 CE.


the well of the Itzás

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