Chichen Itza is an impressive Mayan site from the Post Classic Mayan era. It is easily reachable from Cancun.
A Coach journey of about 1-2 hours costs anywhere from $60 through to $100 (depending on operator)
The air-conditioned coaches get you there in a deal of comfort.
The most notable building among many is the Pyramid known as the Temple of Kukulcan (also spelt Kukulkan.
Two sides of the pyramid have been restored.
Or, more accurately the masonary has been restored.
Originally the steps would have been stucco'd and decoratively painted.
Very clever design by very clever people over a 1000 years ago have left some impressive acoustic affects. These show a
sophisicated understanding of mathematics and sonics. Even today, when we are dealing with what is really the skeleton
of a very old city complex, these effects are surprisingly effective.
It is believed that the "chirping echo" one gets from clapping at the base of the pyramid is a deliberate design detail
of the builders. The steps give multiple reflections of the impulse from the clap. These multiple reflections, each with a short time difference
give rise to the perception of a chirp.
The huge ball court holds other fascinating acoustic effects. The walls act like a acoustic waveguide and a softly spoken sentence at
on end may be heard at the other, a distance of over 500 feet.
The El Caracol is so named due to the spiral stone staicase set within its turret. The El Caracol was an an observatory
and it is precisely aligned to the vernal equinox. The Mayans had an extremely sophisicated kmowledge of celestial bodies. They
calculated the movement of the planet venus with extreme accuracy. They had great ability in both mathematics and astronomy yet
never developed a full size wheeled vehicle or produced metals. They were essentially a stone age culture.
Chichen Itza is now a World Heritage site and The Temple of Kukulcan has been voted to be one of the new Seven
Wonders of the World.
It hardly needs any more recommendation.
Chichen Itza site also has a number of other very important buildings besides the Pyramid, Ball Court and Observatory.
The main complaint from many people is that they simply do not get enough time at the site to do it justice!
Chichen Itza is without doubt an absolute "must see" for anyone other than the most devout culturephobe.
There is a huge range of buildings and it leaves one truly amazed at the ingenuity of these ancient people.