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Chichen Itza ........I will always remember my trip to Chichen Itza because of the kindness of strangers. I'm guessing the owner of my bed and breakfast was impressed with my murals. Because when I mentioned I wanted to go to Chichen Itza, she said she would take me. Now, she couldn't possibly do that for every guest she had!

My tour was experienced with two gracious Mexican women. I didn't get the information that a tour guide could have given me. I'm sure that would have been amazing, but nobody in any other tour group felt as special as I did.

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The Temple of Kukulkan, El Castillo, dominates every angle at Chichen Itza
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Lesson learned very quickly: Chichen Itza was so very crowded. If I ever return there, it will not be on a Sunday. Apparently, Mexicans entered for free on Sunday. I didn't let that phase me. I was in the process of scratching an item off my bucket list. Nothing was going to bother me.

The route followed by the hordes of tourists, circled the main pyramid. The entire route was lined with people hawking souvenirs. The vendors knew exactly why they were there. Chichen Itza had an estimated 1.2 million visitors every year.

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Chichen Itza was one of the largest of the Mayan cities and a center of their empire from AD 750 - 1200. At the height of its power, Chichen Itza dominated the political, sociocultural and economic life from central Yucatan to the north coast. Although the civilization declined by 1250 CE, there was still a large population in the area when the Spanish conquistadors arrived in 1526.

The Maya would often build new temples on top of older ones. This was the case with the Temple of Kukulkan. Excavation in the 1930's discovered a buried temple with a throne the shape of a jaguar, painted red, with spots made from inlaid jade.

Since this temple has 365 steps to the top, it's a fairly good guess to say the Mayans were seriously interested in astronomy. They could even predict solar eclipses.

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Another site in Chichen Itza with treasures for archeologists was Cenote Sagrado, the site of human sacrifices to the Mayan rain god Chaac. In addition to assorted human remains, researchers recovered artifacts of gold, jade and pottery.
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The toll road from Cancun to Chichen Itza, was kind of expensive but very beautiful. It was lush landscape the entire way with no towns. I didn't know there was another route until the drive home. We went through little town after little town and each of them had so many speed bumps. What that road didn't have was street lights. It was a little dangerous and very slow. The return trip was about twice as long as the morning drive.
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Copyright 2014 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.