El Castillo at Chichen Itza

By Daniel Schwen [CC BY-SA 4.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons


Located on Mexico's Yucatan Peninisula, Chichen Itza is the most well-known of the hundreds of Mayan sites scattered across southern Mexico and central America. Chichen Itza was a major city in Mayan Civilization from about 600 -1220 AD. The city is best known as the site of many stone building ruins, including El Castillo, which served as a massive temple to the Mayan God Kukulcan (Quetzalcoatl). El Castillo is an 88-foot high step pyramid with stairways on each of its four sides. Each stairway has 91 steps. The stairways lead to a temple, which sits atop the structure.

The city of Chichen Itza also features the ruins of ancient ballcourts, which were used for the MesoAmerican Ballgame - a violent and sometimes deadly game in which players tried to pass a rubber ball through a stone hoop on their opponents side of the court. The site also features an ancient observatory and several sacred caves.