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Chichen Itza, Mexico
The famous Mayan pyramids of Chichen Itza in Maya literally means: "Mouth of the well of the Itza", the name Chichen Itza is a Mayan word: CHI (mouth), CHEN (well) and ITZA (of the Itza tribe), it is located a 75 miles east of Merida, the Capital of the State of Yucatan, Mexico. This archaeological site is rated among the most important of the Maya culture and covers anarea of approximately six square miles.
The architectural characteristics of Chichen Itza and that have a direct relationship with the Mayan Toltec style are: "El juego de la Pelota", "El Castillo", "El Grupo de las Mil Columnas", "El tzompantli", El Edificio de las Aguilas", "El templo de los Guerrerros", and "El Mercado". All of these buildings have the same decoration motives found in Tula. Themost frequent representations are warriors and Quetzalcoatl.
The main attraction is the central pyramid, a square-based, stepped pyramid that is approximately 75 feet tall, El Castillo de la Serpiente Emplumada, which means "Castle of the Plumed Serpent," and is pictured at the top. The plumed serpent is a popular deity in various Mesoamerican cultures. "El Castillo" is surely the place wherethe ceremony of the descent of Kukulkan was held. The pyramid has special astronomical layout so that a game of light and shadow is formed. On March 21st the body of the serpent metaphorically descends from the temple on top of the pyramid and arrives at the heads at the foot of the staircase.
Just beyond El Castillo you will find a large ball court where Mayan men played a game called pok ta pok.Anthropologists believe that the object of the game was to hurl a ball through a ring that was mounted on a wall, seven meters above the ground. The largest Ball Game in Mesoamerica is 168 meters in length and 70 meters in width.
The Temple of Chac Mool, upon whose walls and interior pillars there are richly colored carvings of plumed serpents, warriors, and priests. The upper building onlypartially reflects its true grandeur. There are three sculpted masks with extremely long noses on the outer walls and at the corners. On the inner walls of the vaults there were murals with scenes of war and daily life. The altar tables and benches may have served as seats and thrones for dignitaries.
In the "Templo de los Guerreros" there is a temple on the top part where the entrance columns aretypically Toltec. Another one of the buildings that have a Toltec seal without is the "Muro de los Craneos". These buildings were destined to be the mausoleums of the tying up the years. Every 52 years the ancient Mayans and other cultures would tie up a sheaf of years to end a cycle. Platform of Venus or of the Dance, Sacred Well or the Well of the Sacrifices, Tzompantli, that displays figures ofskulls in relief.
In the Central Group of the Ruins you can find:
The Red House or Chichan Chob, the name of this building, situated upon a high platform, is derived from the fragments of red paint that were found in its interior. The word "Chichan Chob" means "small holes" and probably alludes to its Lime roof comb. The structure is comprised of an antechamber and three rooms and has asculptured hieroglyphic inscription in the main chamber. The building must have had a religious and public use, since there is a Ball Court joined to its eastern side, with bas-reliefs in the Maya-Toltec style.
The Caracol or Observatory This structure is known as the Observatory due to its shape and some possible astral associations, since astronomical events concerning the planet Venus and thesetting of the sun during the three windows in the upper section. The name "Caracol" (conch) comes from the spiral stairs that lead to the upper part of the building.

Christ the Redeemer, Brazil
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