Chichen Itza is impressive not just because of the number and size of its buildings and temples, but because of its architectural details. This is a figureof Chac, the rain god, built into the corner of a building known as the Igelsia, or church.
This is the great pyramid of Kukulcan, known as the El Castillo. Kukulcan is also known as Quetzalcoatl, a feathered serpent god. There are 91 steps up each of the four sides, and the altar at the top makes 365. The first temples at Chichen Itza were constructed in the 8th Century, A.D., and the peak of temple building occurred around 1000 A.D.
There is a tunnel leading deep into the center of El Castillo, where this altar was used for worship and sacrifice.
Mayan culture developed a very sophisticated understanding of astronomy and mathematics. This is the observatory at Chichen Itza, also known as El Caracol, or the snail, named for a spiral staircase inside. Through slits in the stone roof, the spring and fall equinoxes and the summer solstice could be tracked.
The Temple of the Warriors (Templo de los Guerreros) and the Group of the Thousand Columns are impressive from any angle, including this view from the top of the great pyramid.
Each of the columns is made even more impressive by the intricate carvings on them.
An iguana soaks up the sun from above and the warmth radiating from the stone, much as his ancestors did in Mayan times.