The Mayan Ruins Before Restoration in Chichen Itza, Mexico

July 14, 2021

One of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Chichen Itza in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is an impressive, mostly intact pre-Columbian city. Built by the Mayans beginning around the 5th century AD, Chichen Itza was an important center in the Mayan culture. But the site was abandoned and swallowed by the jungle, as shown in this colorized photograph, and the Mayan population declined. 

The Kukulcán Temple photograph by Teobert Maler 1892 - Wikipedia-Colorized

Rediscovered in the 1840s and restored to its former glory, Chichen Itza’s grand pyramid, ball court, and other structures give us insight into the Mayans and the rich history of Mexico. 

The History of Chichen Itza

A photograph of Chichen Itza in 1859–1860 by Désiré Charnay before vegetation was removed - Wikipedia-Colorized

The city of Chichen Itza was built near a large cenote which provided water for the people of the city. The Mayan people lived in the region from as far back as the 5th century. The structures at the site were built in stages. Different groups added to the complex through the centuries. Archaeologists can see evidence that some structures are much older than others and they differ slightly in architectural style. By the 10th century AD, members of the Toltec people had interactions with the Mayans and may have influenced some of the construction, like the Wall of Skulls and the Temple of the Jaguar, as well as the Thousand Columns.