History lovers in the Riviera Maya received exciting news this Monday- a new section of the Riviera Maya’s most famous archaeological zone will soon be open to the public to explore.
Chichen Itza Viejo, or Old Chichen Itza, will open to the public for the first time on September 2 this year.
Chichen Itza Viejo is located beside the Pyramid of Kukulkan, Chichen Itza’s most recognizable feature.
Research from the National Institute of Anthropology and History suggests that Chichen Itza Viejo was home to Mayan elites, including government officials.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador made this announcement this Monday, July 10, at his daily morning press conference.
According to President López Obrador, archaeologists discovered Chichen Itza Viejo in 1998, and after 25 years of research, it is finally ready for the public to visit.
The President is touring the Train Maya route, stopping in major Riviera Maya destinations such as Campeche and Mérida.
He also announced that he expects to participate in the inauguration ceremonies in September.
The opening of Chichen Itza Viejo is yet another reason to check out the most visited archaeological park in all of Mexico.
There is a reason that Chichen Itza is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
According to UNESCO, the monuments of Chichén Itzá “are among the undisputed masterpieces of Mesoamerican architecture because of the beauty of their proportions, the refinement of their construction and the splendor of their sculpted decorations.”
In light of the exciting news, let’s take a look at the other compelling reasons to visit Chichen Itza.
The Ball Game
One of the most recognizable locations in Chichen Itza is the ball game court, on which the famous Mesoamerican game was played.
Players used their hips to move a ball across the ball game court, but researchers do not know how the game was played or for what reasons.
Some archaeologists theorize that the game held spiritual meaning, with each team representing the duality of light and darkness.
Ball court visitors are amazed by the architectural achievements of the ball game court.
Even though the court is 225 by 545 feet, the acoustics of the court allow for a whisper on one side of the court to be heard on the opposite side.
The Pyramid of Kukulkan
The Pyramid of Kukulkan, also known as the castle, is the most well-known landmark in Chichen Itza and one of the most well-known worldwide.
The massive pyramid watches over the ancient Mesoamerican city from almost 80 feet above.
The pyramid hosts several naturally occurring light phenomena that excite tourists and social media onlookers.
The “snake of light” is a seemingly magical occurrence that appears on the pyramid every year at the spring and fall equinoxes.
The movement of sunlight and the shadow of the pyramid’s steps create shifting triangular patterns. Onlookers note that the result of the light spectacle is the appearance of a snake making its way down the structure.
“The lunar snake” is another exciting light spectacle on the Pyramid of Kukulkan, using moonlight instead of sunlight.
According to Marco Antonio Santos Rodriguez, Director of Chichén Itzá Archaeological Zone, tourists will soon be able to see the lunar snake for themselves.
A new museum, called “Chichén Viejo,” will soon open to Chichen Itza visitors and display over 800 ancient Mayan cultural artifacts.
Construction of the museum is already 75% complete, so tourists can expect to visit soon, even if the official opening date has not been announced.
The National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) and the Mexican Secretariat of Culture continue to conduct anthropological missions at Chichén Itzá.
According to INAH, more than 4,000 artifacts have been discovered at Chichen Itza, some of which will be displayed at the museum.
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