El Castillo at Chichen Itza

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El Castillo, in the ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza, is seen rising between trees
Teocallis, at Chichen-Itza.




The Getty Research Institute, the Internet Archive
Drawn on stone by Andrew Picken


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El Castillo, also known as the Temple of Kukulcan, in the ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza, is seen from ground level rising between trees, the sides of the pyramid and the top of the temple overgrown with vegetation. It is described as follows by the author:

The plate represents the Castillo, or Castle, the first building seen on approaching the ruins, and, from every point of view, the grandest and most conspicuous object that towers above the plain. The mound measures at the base, on the north and south sides, one hundred and ninety-six feet ten inches (60 m); and on the east and west sides, two hundred and two feet (61.6 m). It does not face the cardinal points exactly, though probably so intended; and in all the buildings, from some cause not easily accounted for, while one varies ten degrees one way, that immediately adjoining varies twelve or thirteen degrees the other. It is built up, apparently solid, from the plain to the height of seventy-five feet (22.9 m). On the west side is a staircase, thirty-seven feet (11.3 m) wide; on the north, being that presented in the engraving, the staircase is forty-four feet (13.4 m) wide, and has ninety steps. On the ground at the foot of the staircase, forming a bold, striking, and well-conceived commencement to this lofty range, are two colossal serpent’s heads, ten feet (3 m) in length, with mouths wide open and tongues protruding, as shown by the fragment in the foreground of the drawing: no doubt they were emblematic of some religious belief.

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