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Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay
|El Castillo de Kulkulcán
In the state of Yucatán lies one of Mexico's most reknowned Mayan treasures, Chichén Itzá. This ancient city was once an important place of worship for the Mayan people, and at its heart lies El Castillo de Kulkulcán, a pyramid temple devoted to the deity Kulkulcán. A long, dramatic staircase rises up each side of the structure, with the temple perched on top.
While the temple is perhaps the most popular and easily recognized attraction in Chichén Itzá, the city holds many fascinating Mayan structures and sites for visitors to explore. A few are listed below.
This sinkhole was a sacred spot where sacrifices were offered to appease the gods.
Great Ball Court
From the numerous ball courts that have been unearthed, we can deduce the Mayans enjoyed a good sports match. The Great Ball Court at Chichén Itzá is a fine example, and one of the largest in the Americas. Situated around the ball court are three temples, The Upper Jaguar Temple, The Lower Jaguar Temple and The Temple of the Bearded Man.
Temple of the Warriors
This pyramid is noted for its many columns carved with images of warriors.
Casa Colorada Group
Located on a platform, this group of structures are some of the oldest that have been discovered at Chichén Itzá. Of these, the Casa Colorada, or Red House, is the best known.
Chichén Itzá has been deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site and preservation efforts continue in the city. Although several buildings in the city have been restored, there are hundreds more yet to be explored.
If you go:
Chichén Itzá is about 2-1/2 hours from the popular seaside resort town Cancún and tours can easily be booked from there - check with the concierge or the person manning the front desk at your hotel. If you'd rather stay in the area, try Hacienda Chichen & Yaxkin Spa or Hotel Mayaland. Hotel Dolores Alba Chichén is a good choice for the budget traveler.
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