Sunday, June 24, 2012

Probably The Most Frequently Overlooked Wonders of Chichn Itz

If you're planning a visit to Chichn Itz, chances are you've already got a long list of sights to check out. No doubt, between researching on your own and taking the advice of friends or acquaintances who've been themselves, you'll have found you need a notepad to record all the features, buildings, sculptures, and courtyards with some special historical significance, like the great pyramid El Castillo or the stunning Great Ballcourt. The wonders of Chichn Itz are many and multifaceted, so much so that even travelers who've made multiple trips often overlook the diminutive but fascinating features on this list.

One such location is the Casa Colorada, or Red House, named for the flakes of red paint that scientists discovered lying inside the structure. Known as Chichancob in the Nahuatl tongue, it is one of the most well-preserved buildings at Chichn Itz, and filled with magnificent carvings and hieroglyphs that tell of the city's kings and rulers dating back to to 869 AD.

Consisting of four rooms, including an antechamber and adjacent ball court in the rear, the hieroglyphs that exensively cover the walls seem to be the most important feature of the building, and the most probable purpose for its construction. Chichancob's most likely translation is small holes, probably a reference to its pitted lime-comb roof.

Temple of the Three Lintels

Though dubbed a temple, this structure in Chichn Itz's southern area most likely served as a residence for Mayan royalty. Built during the late Classic period, the lintels from which the building takes its name contain ornate hieroglyphs that stand in contrast with the structure's plain outer walls. A lattice pattern engraved on the cornice completes what is often considered a modest and less than ostentatious building, especially given its primary use.

Offerings seem to have been commonly made at the Temple of the Three Lintels, as various remains pointing to the famous Mayan fire fire rituals have been uncovered by archaeologists. Each of the upper corners contain Chac masks with long noses, thought to have been designed in tribute to the Mayan god of rain. These masks were a common feature of Mayan architecture, being featured on nearly every building at the Chichn Itz site.

Temple of the Bearded Man

Almost every visitor to Chichn Itz makes a stop at the Great Ballcourt, but most overlook one of the site's most interesting features that sits right next to it. At one end of the court is the North Temple, also known as the Temple of the Bearded man, so named because of the carved figures and bas relief artwork on the inside of the structure. Thought not necessarily the intention of the artists, in the center is a figure with glyphs and carvings underneath his chin that give the impression of stylized facial hair, an unusual enough sight to lend his description to the temple as a whole.

No comments:

Post a Comment