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Photographer's Note

I took this shot while I was on vacation in Mexico las month. I stayed at Cancun during the vacation, which is about 2 hours bus ride from here. This pyramid is called El Castillo (or The Castle) and is part of the Chichen Itza complex, which is selected as one of the new wonders of the world. Here is more on the subject from Wikipedia:

El Castillo (Spanish for "The Castle") is the nickname of a spectacular Mesoamerican step-pyramid that dominates the center of the Chichen Itza archaeological site in the Mexican state of Yucatαn.

Built by the Maya civilization sometime between the 11th and 13th centuries AD, "El Castillo" served as a temple to the god Kukulcan (the Maya name for Quetzalcoatl).

It is a step pyramid with a ground plan of square terraces with stairways up each of the four sides to the temple on top. Great sculptures of plumed serpents run down the sides of the northern staircase, and are set off by shadows from the corner tiers on the spring and autumn equinoxes.

Each of the structure's four stairways contain 91 steps. When counting the top platform as another step, in total El Castillo has 365 steps, one step for each day of the approximated tropical year recorded by the portion of the Maya calendar known as the Haab'. The structure is 24 m high, plus an additional 6 m for the temple. The square base measures 55.3 m across.

The overall structure has nine levels, which may be a parallel to the Maya cosmological view of there being nine levels in the Maya 'Underworlds'. We are lead to believe this because of the staircase in the center of the pyramid having 13 levels, the number of levels in the "upper worlds".

In the 1530s Conquistador Francisco de Montejo (the Younger) is reputed to have used this building as his fortress, with cannon mounted atop it during the Spanish conquest of Yucatαn.

Today "El Castillo" is one of the most popular and recognized pre-Columbian structures in present-day Mexico.


More at: www.varahram.ca

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Additional Photos by Varahram Hemmati (vhemmati) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 68 W: 5 N: 47] (616)
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