Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza, “At the Mouth of the Well of Itza,” is located in Yucatán, Mexico. Dominating the center of Chichen is the Temple of Kukulkan (the Maya name for Quetzalcoatl), often referred to as “El Castillo” (the castle).

This step pyramid has a ground plan of square terraces with stairways up each of the four sides to the temple on top.

Ancient Chac Mool Chichen Itza figure Mexico.

Ancient Chac Mool Chichen Itza figure Mexico.

On the Spring and Autumn equinox, at the rising and setting of the sun, the corner of the structure casts a shadow in the shape of a plumed serpent – Kukulcan, or Quetzalcoatl – along the west side of the north staircase.

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

On these two annual occasions, the shadows from the corner tiers slither down the northern side of the pyramid with the sun’s movement to the serpent’s head at the base. In 2007, Chichen Itza’s El Castillo was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.