Their castle looks like a pyramid, is called El Castillo. It's 75 feet tall. The large steps end in two big serpent heads. The Mayans knew a lot about the calendar. On the first day of spring and the first day of fall, the sun casts shadows on the steps that look like a snake wiggling down the pyramid.

To the Maya this was a lucky symbol. It meant the golden sun had entered the earth, meaning it was time to plant corn. 

The main ball court is the largest anywhere, Called the  Juego de Pelota, it is one of nine ball courts built in this city. Carved on both walls of the court are scenes showing Mayan figures dressed as ball players wearing  heavy protective padding.

Chichen Itza "chee-cha nee-sa" was created by people called the  Itzles in 445 BC. About 800 years later, the city was empty.  Why the people left is still a mystery. The people made many pictures of  feathered serpents, eagles and  jaguars.

Cenote Sagrado
Archeologists have found a fortune in gold and jade at the Cenote Sagrado sacred cenote "say no-tay" in Chichen Itza. A cenote is a deep sinkhole with water at the bottom,
This well was used strictly for ceremonies, not for  drinking. According to legend, people were sacrificed here to honor the rain god Chaac.  They also tossed copper, gold, and jade offerings into the cenote

Observatory (El Caracol)
The Mayans were very interested with the stars. Their observatory is a complicated structure with a circular tower. Through slits in the tower's walls, Mayan astronomers could observe the stars  The temple's name, which means "snail" comes from a spiral staircase inside the structure, which is now closed to visitors. Design of copper plate found in the cenote at Chichen Itza is shown at right.

Chichen Itza is a popular side trip from Cancun

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