Chichen Itza (from Yucatec Maya chich’en itza’, “At the mouth of the well of the Itza”) is a large pre-Columbian archaeological site built by the Maya civilization, located in the northern center of the Yucatán Peninsula, present-day Mexico.
Chichen Itza was a major regional center in the northern Maya lowlands from the Late Classic through the Terminal Classic and into the early portion of the Early Postclassic period. The site exhibits a multitude of architectural styles, from what is called “Mexicanized” and reminiscent of styles seen in central Mexico to the Puuc style found among the Puuc Maya of the northern lowlands. The presence of central Mexican styles was once thought to have been representative of direct migration or even conquest from central Mexico, but most contemporary interpretations view the presence of these non-Maya styles more as the result of cultural diffusion.
Archaeological data, such as evidence of burning at a number of important structures and architectural complexes, suggest that Chichen Itza’s collapse was violent. Following the decline of Chichen Itza’s hegemony, regional power in the Yucatán shifted to a new center at Mayapan.
According to the American Anthropological Association, the actual ruins of Chichen Itza are federal property, and the site’s stewardship is maintained by Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH). The land under the monuments, however, is privately owned, as are most of the sites of patrimony in Mexico. In the case of Chichen Itza, the archaeological zone is owned by the Barbachano family.
Coordinates: 20°40′58″N, 88°34′09″W
Chichen Itza video:
Chichen Itza map and hotels:
View Larger Map