Chichen Itza – Yucatan’s Astronomical Center

Yucatan – Maya Classic Period – 200 AD – 800 AD an extension of the Teotihuacan Empire (Ancient Chocolate Trade carbon dating confirms their connection)  (Below: Chichen Itza —


Chichen Itza was the most important Maya (200-800 AD) political, economic & religious center.  On Spring Equinox (March 21) thousands gather to witness the birth-renewal of spring by the descent of the sun illuminating the stairway down to the horned feathered bird-serpent head at the base of the stairway.    Seven triangles are visible on March 21, June 21 & Sept. 21.             

Annually on April 6 and September 6–all 9 triangles of shadow & light are visible on the western side of the north staircase between 5-5:30 pm on El Castillo pyramid. Nine triangles = complete (8 visible on the staircase & the 9th illuminating the head of Kukulkan).    Two scholars from Merida discovered this full perfect illumination. They had no explanation for the April 6 date, but felt it must commemorate a significant date in the life of the Mesoamerican god – Quetzalcoatl.          

At Chichen Itza, the main pyramid is called “El Castillo”.  Kukulkan-Quetzalcoatl “feathered snake” became the king of the Itza Maya. A square-based, stepped pyramid  is at the center of the city and built for astronomical purposes. Chichen Itza.                                                                        

Site of Chichen Itza tok_mp1

Chichen Itza: Mayan ruins, Yucatan Mexico~ photos & history- LocoGringo  

  • Chichen Itza was an important pilgrimage place for the Mayas.
  • Buildings at Chichen Itza are of stone & transported by hand.
  • Chichen Itza was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988 as one of the seven wonders of the world in 2006.
  • Temple of Kukulkan, (El Castillo) was named by the Spanish.
  • Chichén Itzá’s ball court is the largest known in the Americas, measuring 554 ft. (168 meters) long &  231 ft. (70 meters) wide.
  • Fall & spring equinoxes, the Kukulkan pyramid forms an enormous snake’s body–shadows from the stone walls line up with the carved stone snake head at the bottom of the pyramid.
  • The 4 sides of the Kukulkan pyramid contain 365 steps, 91 steps X 4 sides & the final 365th step on top = the solar year, 52 panels (the Mayan century as well a week in the solar year) & 18 terraces (18 months in the religious year). The pyramid is 75 feet high – a monumental representation of the Mayan calendar.
  • The Sacred Cenote is a natural fresh water well 60 metres in diameter with sheer, escape-proof walls plunging 22 metres.
  • Architectural styles = diverse population & culture.
  • Mayan structures in Chichen Itza: Observatory, Temple of Warriors, the Chac Mool figure, & the Nunnery.
  • Archeologists found fortunes of jade, gold & copper in the sacred cenote. Residents tossed these offerings to the Rain God Chacc.
  • Chichen Itza means “mouth of the well of the Itza” named for the large cenote water source nearby.



El Caracol Observatory 

“El Caracol” astronomical observatory began with the Maya were embellished by the later Toltecs. The most significant alignment from the front door and principal window look west to the sunset position on August 13.  The Maya were expert sky-watchers of the celestial bodies (also at Izapa, Teotihuacan, Kaminaljuyu, Uxmal, Uaxactun, Edzna, Tikal, and dozens more). At many of these sites hieroglyphic carvings refer to celestial bodies and cycles. Often the buildings they adorn were built to align with significant astronomical events–solstices, equinoxes, moon, star and planet rises.  One window marks the appearance of Venus as “morning star” every 8 years. (

The conjunction totals for the Sun, moon and Venus cycles are:       Sun —– 365 X 8 = 2920 days                                                                                 Moon -29.5 x 99 = 2920 days                                                                               Venus — 584 x 5 = 2920 days

It just so happens that the synodic period of Venus (584 days) relates to the orbital period of the earth (365 days) in a relatively simple ratio of 5:8. Five times the synodic period of Venus (5 x 584 days) is 2,920 days. If you divide 2,920 by the 365 days in our year, you get 8. In short, the motions of Venus relative to our sun repeat almost exactly every 8 years. 

Ancient Observatories: Chichén Itzá


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