Monday, March 6, 2017

Day 3 Chichen Itza

What a fun filled day!!
 We met Helaman bright and early at 7am which was a little brutal for us with the time change. We picked up the other tourists in our group and made the drive to Chichen Itza. It was about an hour away but it went really fast because Helaman talked to us the whole time to prepare us for what we were about to see. It was an LDS tour so we got so many insights from him. It is so amazing what the Mayans managed to build but so sad to see how gospel principles established when Christ visited were abandoned and morphed into Mayan beliefs hundreds of years later.
This place has been on my bucket list for years. It's hard for me to believe I actually got to finally see it. It was really amazing and huge! There are ruins everywhere there. I expected just a few but there was no way we could even see it all and we were probably there for two hours.
There was incredible detail chiseled into the buildings. 
There is a man on the left pillar and a woman on the right.
 This is where they played a ball game that determined the person who would be sacrificed. There were two teams of seven that tried to get a heavy ball up through the stone hoop. I cant remember if they used their hands but I think not. 
 They had no fouls etc and just beat the heck out of each other until there was only one left from each team. The winner was the one sacrificed and that happened by the looser cutting off his head. Pretty gruesome. Then they etched the victors portrait into a wall of skulls. Ya really nuts.
 There were many symbols of Christ such as the feathered serpent signifying a God that could come down to earth but also raise himself back up to heaven. Very cool when you think of it. Here is an example of a serpent's head with the feathers etched in the rock behind him. Really hard to see though.

Each side of the Temple was a little different. There is a huge feathered serpent that appears in its full glory on April 6. Meanwhile everyone comes March 21 and while it is amazing then at sunrise and sunset on April 6 it is the only time it it actually complete. 
There are two rooms inside the top of the Temple that at one time was divided by cloth. 
Interesting huh.
 This is a Mayan arch. Not quite as intricate as the Roman's or rounded with a keystone but still interesting.
 Alot of historians believe this was an observatory because of the round shape on top but Helaman disputes that. Another temple. There were lots of them everywhere and he said it was like different denominations each has their own temples to worship in.
 The ruins were just gorgeous and so detailed.
 I think the scale of them was amazing. Obviously Chichen Itza was a huge Mayan city at one time.
 This is such intricate art work on the side of one of the buildings. I wish I could remember all the things Helaman told us about it but unless I return with a notebook to take notes on I'm doomed.
 This statue is called a chockmaul. The Mayans believed you need a broken heart to return to heaven but they didn't have scriptures and living prophets to remind them that this was figurative and so they committed human sacrifice. They moved victims (sometimes alive) hearts and placed them on this altar. They were everywhere.
 You can see one way at the top of this building.
 A baptism font.
Again I can't remember exactly what this was but they had alot of them too and many were in excellent shape. After we had the tour we walked through the gauntlet of vendors to shop for ten minutes. Jeff got himself a lovely marble chess set.
We should have bought the jaguar noise maker thingy! We did find some treasures.

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