Souvenirs from the Chichen Itza in Mexico
The Chichen Itza was one of the spiritual centers of the Mayan civilization in the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico and a melting pot for an outstanding 1,000 years of history which dates its unique architectural features back to the Mesoamerican Mayan-Toltec civilization.The ancient city was also a powerful Mayan economic center. Due to its astonishing urban architecture, it was included in the new list of the Seven Wonders of the World and it’s one of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites. A resin fridge magnet souvenir keeps the image of the marvelous Mayan pyramid ‘Kukulcan’ alive. It is, after all, one of the most gracious examples of archaeological design whose influence went beyond Yucatán. Allow yourself to be enchanted by this splendid architecture with its refined beauty of perfect proportions and decorations which shaped the culture of Mexico for more than five centuries.
The Spiritual Center of Maya and the Toltec Invasion
The old ruins of Chichen Itza are representative for two main periods in pre-Columbian civilization: the city itself was established and flourished during the Classic period to reach its peak prior to the Toltec invasion. This brutal military campaign took place in the 10th century and has been long remembered for its violence. After the Toltec conquest, a new ritual of human sacrifice was enforced as the new religion and the construction techniques borrowed elements from the Toltec architecture. Today three of the famous Mayan pyramids and temples are open to the public: the Kukulkan Pyramid (El Castillo) with the Temple of Warriors and the Great Ball Court, the Ossario Group (with the Ossario pyramid, the Xtoloc temple and the cenote of the Xtoloc) and the Central Group (the Observatory or El Caracol, the group of Las Monjas and La Iglesia and the temple of Akab Dzib).
The Kukulkan Pyramid and the Mayan Cosmo-vision
The Kukulkan Pyramid is an architectural Mayan wonder built as a religious temple according to the Mayan Solar Calendar. Astonishing in its geometric succession of steps and platforms, it is a splendid representation of Mayan Cosmo-vision. Its square terraces and stairways decorated with feather set the perfect framework for the spectacular "light and shadow" which occurs at the equinox each year. The ancient KukulKan ceremony is still an unrevealed mystery: the god of Kukulkan was the focus of the ceremonies held in the sacred buildings of the Great Plaza whereas the Southern temples cherished the God of Rain Chaak; these constructions are spectacular representations of water as this ancient city was built in a dry climate where drought often brought starvation. The Temple of the Warriors and the Group of the Thousand Columns is world famous for its painted stucco frescos, carved serpent columns and the sculpture of the Chac Mool used in old times as a sacrifice venue.
Mayan Astronomy and the Secrets of Stars
Among excavated ancient treasures of Mayan jade, pottery and artifacts, the Observatory still fascinates today’s visitors due to its seemingly modern design. The positioning of its doors and windows follows different astronomical events and it is believed that the Mayan astronomers had a deep understanding of the Sun and the Moon and sophisticated concepts such as Heavens. Las Monjas is one of the most beautiful Puuc style temple constructions in Chichen Itza whereas Akab Dzib glyphs depict ceremonial scenes. It is still unknown why at the end of the 7th century the Maya abandoned Chichen Itza for almost 250 years. They were back in the city to actively seek new alliances with the local tribes and to build more magnificent everlasting temples.