Wednesday 11th January… Today we would be celebrating Michael’s birthday with a half day trip to one of the new wonders of the world… Chichen Itza.
I love visiting places like this, so chock full of history!
The day started off interestingly ….. we got picked up by a small 10 seater bus, with BAD shock absorbers, and as we went over each and every bump in the road, we shot each other worried looks…. it was going to be a LONG uncomfortable day.
But then the small bus stopped and we were escorted to a large tourist coach to commence the actual day’s trip.
Prior to getting on board, our little group of 10 were sworn to keep the secret….. we had been ungraded to a full day’s tour at no extra cost, our tour would now include Cenote, an underground cave that you could swim in after lunch.
So after transferring into the large tourist coach, our first stop was the ancient ruins of Chichen Itza.
On our guided tour, we started at the Great Ball Court –
a place where we saw the rings high on the wall, where the warriors would compete against each other, to honour the god of corn.
We saw the wall murals of the games played thousands of years earlier, and then heard about the honour bestowed on the winning team’s leader. A beheading.
(As the guide stated, anyone in those days could die of disease, it was a GREAT honour to be sacrificed to the God of Corn- ensuring the tribe would have a great harvest that year).
Being honoured, was so special in those days, that the heads were then entombed into the walls and a mural decorated the images of the warriors.
We then our tour guide showed a statue of a leader who decided the letting of blood (via beheading) would be replaced when it was about to be deemed “his honour” .
He called upon everyone to gather and then he pierced his genitals with a sharp spear to bring forth the blood letting, hence still satisfying the gods, as the letting of blood was needed to help ensure a good harvest and food plentiful for the whole town.
Then we were shown the Temple of the Emperors, a site that they used to use in conjunction with the main central temple, to keep track of the seasons.
The Mayans used this temple to work out what season it was throughout the year. Where the sun rose ( to the left, in the centre, and to the right) would indicate where they were in the cycle of the year (every 4 months x 3 positions).
The end of the tour took us to the foot of the main pyramid (the one everyone recognises ) the mayan temple that represented the mayan calendar. 92 steps on each four sides, one large step at the top of the pyramid totalling the 365 days of the year.
At the foot of each staircase were two serpent heads, and the shape of the pyramid was designed specifically to reflect the sunlight during the spring period, to cast a shadow down the staircase, giving the appearance that the king serpent was descending to fertilise the grounds… which would also herald the time for the ball game and the letting of blood to further ensure a good plentiful crop to feed the whole town.
No wonder Chichen Itza is known as one of the new wonders of the world. History is fascinating.
Be sure to check out my next blog, when i show our “free” upgrade part of the trip.