Located in the Yucatan Peninsula, Chichen Itza is the most visited, and the largest of the Mayan archaeological sites in Mexico. It is an easy day trip from Cancun. For over 1000 years, the city was an important place of pilgrimage for the Mayan people.
The most recognisable structure in the ancient city is the El Castillo. Also known as the Temple of Kukulcan, the temple is a Meso-American step pyramid, believed to have been built sometime between the 9th and 12th centuries. Stairs lead up all four sides of the pyramide, to the temple at the top. Statues of Serpents run along the balustrades of the staircases. Each side of the temple has 91 steps. When added together with the final step at the top, where the temple sits, the total number of stairs adds up to 365, equal to the number of days in the Mayan calendar.
I previously mentioned how the Land of the Dead features a design that you can actually find in Mexico, where ancient buildings can be found coexisting with centuries-old churches and cathedrals that are right next to modern buildings.
As I was writing that post and checking out the truly beautiful concept art, I noticed that the churches down there were actually built on top of the pyramids and that brought to mind somewhere special.
Cholula’s Church (La Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios) may seem like it’s been built on top of a hill but that hill is actually a pyramid.
The world’s largest pyramid, to be precise.
Unlike other pyramids in the world, you’re actually allowed to go inside and the tour is actually really neat so next time you’re visiting Puebla, make sure to drop by Cholula.
You’ll get to walk inside the pyramid and then go outside to see the parts that have been uncovered.
Then, once the tour is over, you can head up to check out the church (which at the moment I’m writing this post is actually closed since it was damaged by the earthquake, but is being fixed as I write this) and enjoy the views from up there:
And if you still have energy after that climb?
Drop by my inbox and I might just give you a tour around Cholula. I know all the good places.
Archaeologists at Mexico’s Teotihuacan ruins have found evidence that the city’s builders dug a tunnel beneath the Pyramid of the Moon and researchers said one of its purposes may have been to emulate the underworld.
The National Institute of Anthropology and History said researchers used a kind of computerized tomography scan to discover the apparent tunnel about 30 feet (10 meters) below the surface of the plaza in front of the pyramid.
The CT scan suggests the tunnel may have been filled in antiquity. Other tunnels have been discovered at Teotihuacan, and one at Temple of the Plumed Serpent has been explored.
Experts say the tunnels may be associated with sacred flows of water and the underworld.
“The discovery would confirm that the inhabitants of Teotihuacan followed the same pattern in their large-scale temples, and that their function would be to emulate the underworld,” said INAH archaeologist Veronica Ortega.
More studies are needed to determine whether the apparent tunnel should eventually be excavated.
The ruins north of Mexico City remain shrouded in mystery.
Teotihuacan had its apex between 100 B.C. and A.D. 750, with about 100,000 residents. But it was abandoned before the rise of the Aztecs in the 14th century.
The 340-foot (103-meter) tunnel found under the Temple of the Plumed Serpent early in this century yielded relics from ranging from seeds to pottery to animal bones.
Researchers have still to find the tombs of the city’s elite that they had hoped might be in the tunnel.
Unlike at other pre-Columbian ruins in Mexico, archaeologists have never found any remains believed to belong to Teotihuacan’s rulers. Such a discovery could help shine light on the leadership structure of the city, including whether rule was hereditary.