Sitting on the vast flat jungle covered plains of the Yucatan Peninsula, this Mayan city was very popular due to it’s proximity to the mega resort beaches in Cancun and kind of functioned like a Disneyland for aged American tourists. It was interesting anyway.
This is the last of the ancient Mexican cities to visit for our trip, so we thought we’d be getting to be old hands at climbing steps. I was disappointed that the only pyramids open to access were the large central El Castillo and El Caracol (an Observatory). Chichen Itza is also mentioned in Jorn Utzon’s essay on platforms (see Oaxaca entry) and the closure thwarted my plan to re-photograph the views from the original publication to retell his story. Never-the-less the central ideas were very clear: the constructed platform has the feel of the natural ground; an up and down movement is introduced to a terrain where there were none (or at least few); this facilitated access to a whole new landscape level with the tops of the trees, making a place with divergent characteristics to the dense jungle experience of their everyday life. The only other variations in this singular landscape were the deep cenotes that provided essential water. These also played a sacred role in the life of the city.
Also of note is the Grupo de la Mil Columnas – see Louise zigzagging through, this was experientially unique to this site especially how they blurred with the adjacent trees.