Chichen-Itza is a remarkable ancient Mayan city that has many structures still standing today. This was the center of the Mayan empire from the years 750 to 1200 A.D. The Mayans were an advanced civilization that used astronomy in their every day life and to build great structures.
They were able to predict solar ellipses with the limited technology they had. Ancient Mayans had some very different beliefs than we do today, such as believing in gods that demanded human sacrifices. In the 1400’s, Chichen-Itza was abandoned and the jungle slowly took over.
It is not completely known why they left, but there are different speculations.
The main structure at Chichen-Itza is the large Temple of Kukulkan. It is a step pyramid that shows off how important astronomy was to the Mayans, and how mathematically accurate they were.
There are 4 sides that each have 91 steps, with the platform at the very top being the 365th step, which makes a step for every day of the year.
Twice a year, a serpent shadow shows up on the pyramid and connects to the serpent head made out of stone that is at the bottom.
The ball court at Chichen-Itza is the biggest one in North or South America. The ancient Mayans played ritual games where the goal was to hit a rubber ball weighing 12 pounds through the hoops high up on the walls. The losers were killed, so this was not a game that was played lightly.
Sacred Cenote (Sinkhole wells) were the only source of water for residents of this Mayan city. Young girls were tossed into these larger wells as sacrifices to bring rain. Ancient Mayans believed that the Mayan god of rain lived in the wells and giving them victims would keep them happy.
The bones of the victims have been discovered, along with other objects that they had with them when they were thrown in.