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Chichen Itza, Yucatan Region

El Castillo The Temple of the WarriorsThe ObservatoryThe NunneryThe Ball CourtCenote

The Ball Court at Chichén Itzá

mayan ball courtThe Mayans were great sportsmen and build huge ballcourts to play their games. The Great Ballcourt of Chichén Itzá is 545 feet long and 225 feet wide overall. It has no vault, no discontinuity between the walls and is totally open to the sky.

Each end has a raised "temple" area. A whisper from end can be heard clearly at the other end 500 feet away and through the length and breath of the court. The sound waves are unaffected by wind direction or time of day/night. Archaeologists engaged in the reconstruction noted that the sound transmission became stronger and clearer as they proceeded. In 1931 Leopold Stokowski spent 4 days at the site to determine the acoustic principals that could be applied to an open-air concert theater he was designing. Stokowski failed to learn the secret. To this day it has not been explained.

Ball court at Chichen ItzaIt is not hard to imagine a Mayan King sitting here presiding over the games. Legends say that the the winning captain would present his head to the losing capitan, who then decapitates him. While this may seem a strange reward, the Mayans believed this to be the ultimate honor.The winning captian getting a direct ticket to heaven instead of going through the 13 steps that the Mayan's believed they had to go through in order to reach heaven..

This concludes the tour of the Chichén Itzá ruins. Just down the road from the Chichén Itzá ruins, however is a natural formation as spooky as the ruins themselves. Come enter the Cenoté (claustrophobics should turn back now)

El Castillo The Temple of the WarriorsThe Observatory The NunneryThe Ball CourtCenote


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