. . . El Castillo, the Statue of Liberty or Eiffel Tower of the Maya civilization, is far from being the largest pyramid of the Maya, yet it is among the most imposing with all four its unique sides expertly restored. The ball court, a relatively modest double structure in all other cities, is simply massive at Chichen Itza. The novelty proportions of the field size and wall height would have made it about as useful as a giant pink carnival comb, and it’s even suspected that no actual games were played here, only ceremonial representations. The Temple of the Warriors, which hardly resembles anything else Mayan, isn’t as much massive as it is long and airy with its rows of hundreds of columns. In the older part of town, the Caracol, or observatory, truly looks like a stone copy of our ultra-modern white-domed versions (So is there a giant stone telescope inside as well?). Even the two cenotes are exaggerated an unnecessarily dramatic. The whole city is over-sized and actually hardly Maya. There’s no doubt when touring other Maya cities that Chichen is unlike the rest. In fact it was a cosmopolitan city so influenced by other Mesoamerican cultures that it functioned independently from the other city-states of its era – similar to Teotihuacan.

My Maya travel narrative: The Travel Companion from the Realm of the Maya


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