The 91 steps of El Castillo are so steep that people climb the steps leaning forward and using their hands as well as their feet, like giant ants. Some people have told us that they no longer allow visitors to climb the steps.
This is the view looking up the steps. The 91 steps mean that on the four sides there are 364 steps, plus the platform on top makes 365 to coincide with the days of the year.
This is the view from the top looking down the steps. This is one set of stairs it is important to watch your step going down, as serious injury or worse would be a certainty from a fall down these steps. Maybe that is why they no longer would not want people to climb up the stairs.
At the spring and fall equinoxes, the shadow cast by the edge of the Castillo forms the pattern of the back of a serpent on the side of the stairs, leading to the head of Quetzalcoatl, the serpent god, at the base of the stairs. Crowds gather to watch this masterful achievement of ancient architecture and astronomy.
At the Temple of the Skulls (Tzompantil), carved skulls commemorating the sacrificed are carved throughout the base of a large temple. When the temple was used, the skulls of the sacrificed were placed on stakes around the temple.
This is the temple at the north end of the ball court. The acoustics of the ball court are so good that a person talking in this temple could be heard at the opposite end, 443 feet away. This is the best preserved ball court in the Mayan world, but is only one of 9 ball courts at Chichen Itza. There is uncertainty and a debate whether it was the winning or losing team members who were sacrificed, but carvings show that players were sacrificed.