Mayan History (Part 51): Chichén Itzá
Chichén Itzá is situated on the Yucatán Peninsula.
Chichén Itzá was founded by the mid-400’s, on a flat site near two large cenotes. The city’s history is divided into two parts, although there is some overlap.
The first part is about 750-900 AD, or perhaps 800-1000. The buildings from this time are of the distinctive Puuc style architectural style, and they have Mayan hieroglyphs.
The second part is 1000-1200 AD. Buildings from this time show influence of the Toltecs, whose capital Tula was 1000km to the north. It is possible that the Toltecs conquered Chichén Itzá as they expanded their empire; or it may have been because of cultural/economic contact & sharing.
Common features of
Chichén Itzá & Tula include warrior columns, quetzal-feathered
rattlesnakes, clothing styles of the subjects, the chac mools,
atlantids, the representation of certain animals, Tlaloc (the
rain god), a tzompantli (sacrificial skull rack), incense
burners, and certain personal names represented by glyphs which are
in both cities, but which are not Maya.
Temple of the Warriors - strong Toltec influence.
Columns at Temple of the Warriors.
From 1200 AD onwards, Chichén Itzá fell into a decline, and Mayapan became the new capital in the region. But it wasn’t fully abandoned: ordinary people continued to live there, and the city remained a place of ancestry & pilgrimage, even after the Spanish invasion.
The Great Ballcourt.
El Caracol (the observatory).