One of Mexico’s top tourist attractions is the Mayan site of Chichen Itza, located in the southern part of the country in the Yucatan Peninsula. While most people know about the basic facts of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, there are still plenty of things that remain a mystery to most. Check out these fun facts about Chichen Itza that you probably didn’t know!
Its Pyramid Has 365 Steps
The main attraction of Chichen Itza is its “El Castillo” pyramid, a former Maya temple that rises 98 feet above the ground. While you cannot climb to the top of it anymore due to the need to secure its structural integrity, it has 365 steps that lead to the top, a symbol for one of every one of the days of the year.
The True Meaning of Its Name
While Chichen Itza is a world-famous name, many people do not know what exactly it means. The name comes from the Mayan language and means “at the mouth of the well of the Itza.” It was said that an underground spring known as Itza, a powerful place in the Mayan underworld, was located under the pyramid.
Abandoned for 100 Years
Chichen Itza was an important center and the home of a settlement with numerous residents for hundreds of years, but did you know that it was actually vacated in the 9th and 10th centuries for about 100 years thanks to a severe drought that struck the region? Fortunately, it was brought back to use around 1000 AD after the water supply was restored.