​​​​​welcome to the mayan ruins website .

jaguar temple and el castillo 1899               a.d. white/cornell

sacred cenote                                                    ovedc

initial series group arch              giovanni agostino frassetto

great ball court                                            pedro marcano

upper jaguar temple                   sigvald linne expedition c1932

excavations 2009                                         canuckle

monjas east structure                                                 elilicht

caracol                                                   steve mellard

monjas east structure c1840's            frederick catherwood 


casa de las cabecitas                         giovanni agostino frassetto    

lower jaguar temple                                          runt35

platform of the jaguar & eagle            raymundo1972

temple of the warriors                       keith pomakis

temple of the 3 lintels                   sigvald linn expedition 1932

house of the phallus                     giovanni agostino frassetto

temple of the initial series        giovanni agostino frassetto

​CHICHEN ITZA-Yucatan, Mexico

Chichen Itza is a Maya World Heritage site, and has been named one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is the most well known, and most visited archaeological zone in Mexico, and for good reason. The restored Pyramid of Kukulcan is a masterpiece. The Great Ball Court lives up to its name, and the overall restoration and consolidation work is superb. It is located off the autopista between Merida and Cancun at the town of Piste. 

The archaeological zone covers about 4 sq miles/10.4 kms sq, though the central core area is much smaller and easily visited. The grounds are well maintained, though the presence of hawking vendors throughout the site is a distraction.

ENTRANCE FEES: U.S. $25.00/498 pesos, add U.S. $10+ for video camera. Pricey, but worth it.
GUIDES: Available starting at U.S. $10/person
SERVICES: Restrooms, food & drink, gift store, handicraft vendors, with a major bus line service to Piste, 1 mile from ruins. Taxis and mini buses run from Piste to the entrance. Sufficient  parking at $4.50/80 pesos.

ACCOMMODATIONS: Food and lodging can be found in nearby Piste
GPS: 88d 34' 01" N, 20d 41' 05" W
MISC: Light Show separate fee, $28/510 pesos. Winter 7PM, Summer 8PM

​Chichen Itza (mouth of the well of the Itza) was considered to have been the most important site in the Yucatan during the Late to Post Classic 600-1250 A.D.). It remains so today. Its sacred well was a pilgrimage destination long after the Spanish conquest. Many structures date from the Late Classic (600-900 A.D), especially in “Old Chichen”. Later structures such as the Castillo show strong Central Mexican/Toltec influence (900-1250 A.D.). It was a common practice of the Maya to build one structure over the other, so these overlaying structures themselves easily span centuries.

Chichen Itza was a powerful entity, with control over a wide area. Its trade and political relationships were vast which brought in not only goods, but a world view of ideas from as far away as central Mexico. These goods and ideas reached Chichen by land and sea, with the site of Isla Cerritos on the north coast being its most important port. Chichen Itza was already in decline as a regional capital by the time Mayapan began its rise to power c.1250 A.D.​  

 The first meaningful recorded visit to this site in modern times was done by the extraordinary duo of John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood in the 1840’s. Their books on the cities of the Maya were an astounding success and are a very enjoyable read today. They are: Incidents of Travel in Yucatan, and Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan. Highly recommended.

There followed Desire Charnay 1860; Augustus le Plongeon 1875; Teobert Maler and Alfred Maudsley c1880’s; Edward Thompson 1894; A.D. White 1899; and Adela Breton 1908 amongst others. A number of expeditions were made to the site in the early 1900’s. The Carnegie Institute and the Mexican Government began lengthy excavations and restorations beginning in the 1920’s. Restorations, consolidations, and management of the site continue under the direction of INAH. The late Peters Schmidt who was resident at Chichen for many years contributed a vast amount of knowledge to our understanding of the site.

Edward Thompson, American Counsel in Merida, purchased the site in 1894 and commenced explorations. He dredged the Sacred Cenote in 1903 donating most of the artifacts to the Peabody Museum resulting in a decades long legal battle with the Mexican Government. The site was sold by Thompson’s heirs to the Barbachano family in 1941. The Mexican government purchased the property (they always owned the structures) in 2009.

The architectural styles include Classic Puuc (c.850 A.D.), Chenes (c.850 A.D.), and Toltec influenced (900-1200 A.D.)


​​The structural groups at Chichen are centered around several plazas. The largest plaza, referred to as the Grand Terrace, is immense. It measures about 892ft/272m x 829ft/252m and contains the most notably structures at the site. Most of the structures here date to the Terminal to Post Classic (900-1250 A.D.).

El Castillo, a pyramid at nearly 79 feet/26 meters in height, is the tallest structure at the site and is positioned near the center of the plaza. Its final construction phase dates to approx. 1200 A.D., and is also known as the Temple of Kukulcan, which translates to Feathered Serpent, a Maya deity. The Feathered Serpent and the jaguar appear in profusion throughout the site.

El Castillo is built over an older, smaller pyramid that is, unfortunately, no longer accessible to tourists. It has been tentatively dated to 870-900 A.D. This smaller pyramid housed two summit chambers, one that contains a replica of a jaguar studded with jade encrustations. The original is now in the National Museum in Mexico City.

Recent investigations in 2016 has revealed a third, even older pyramid beneath the other two pyramids. It dates to the Early Classic Period (200-600 A.D.) The pyramid was located using remote sensing devices. It has also been determined that the entire structure was built over a cenote, an important place in Maya religion and mythology.  The pyramid itself lies at the central axis of four cenotes.

El Castillo has 91 steps on each of its four sides equaling 364, and the upper temple platform brings the total to 365, equal to a year of days or Haab in the Yucatec Maya language. The temple commands a beautiful view of the surrounding site. There are carved, stone jambs on the inner doorways of the temple that depict warriors in regal costume.

A main draw to El Castillo, and indeed to the whole site are the events that mark the Spring (March 21) and Fall (Sept 22) equinox that attracts upwards of 30,000 or more visitors, and in the spring signals for the Maya the start of the planting season. At these times the shadow of a body of a serpent appears to descend down the steps of the pyramid to a serpents head, and then on towards the direction of the Sacred Well.

 These Equinox gatherings bring the site alive, and one can easily imagine the true purpose of these grand plazas. This is an event that should not be missed.

Excavations in 2009 in the plaza fronting the pyramid have revealed beautiful foundations of earlier Maya structures in a quite different architectural style. Unfortunately, the pyramid, like most other structures at Chichen, is now off limits for visitors to climb or enter.

The Great Ballcourt occupies the northwest portion of the Grand Terrace. A sacbe, Sacbe 2 extends 3.5 miles/6km to the northwest passing by the Northwest Group and on out to the small site of Cumtun. This structure, the floor plan of which is in the shape of a capital “I”, is the largest in the Americas at 450 feet/150 meters long. The imposing size of the Ballcourt, with adjoining walls that measure 26 feet/8 meters in height, is magnificent. It appears to have been constructed between 900-1200 A.D.

 On these walls appears a long line of carved stone blocks depicting an aspect of the ball game that was played. These scenes show richly attired individuals, and ball players in the final act of the game. This then would be the decapitation of one of the players. Researchers are divided if it were the winner, loser, or a predetermined player who faced this fate.

The comments of a guide at the site of El Rey, however, offered a contrasting point of view. The ritual killing of the ball player is a metaphorical illustration.  He stated that at the Equinox a shadow crosses the figure being shown beheaded. This denotes the ritualistic end of one season and the beginning of the next. This makes perfect sense as the Maya believed in an endless cycle of life, death and renewal with regards to everything. Food for thought at any rate.

At the far end of the ball court is the Temple of the Bearded Man, or North Temple, fronted by two columns and which contain bas relief carvings on its inner walls. Mural paintings are evident as well.

The Temple of the Jaguars is incorporated into the east wall of the Ball Court. The Upper Temple is framed by two carved serpent columns. The chamber also contains remnants of painted murals.

The Lower Jaguar Temple is located on the outside wall of the Ball Court below the Upper Jaguar Temple. It is entered between twin columns which contain intricate bas relief carvings. A single chamber has walls also carved in bas relief, along with a jaguar throne at the entrance similar to that found in the early pyramid chamber in the Castillo.

On the south side of the Ball Court is located the South Temple. This structure is in a partially restored condition. It features a single vaulted chamber accessed between 6 square columns. A narrow terrace runs in front of the structure and extends out to the east.

To the east of the Great Ball Court, back towards El Castillo, are a number of intricate platforms.  The first encountered is the Platform of the Skulls, or Tzompantli, that depicts rows of skulls that surround its low walls. There follows the Platform of the Jaguars and Eagles which contains panels depicting these animals in a ritual of devouring human hearts. This motif is also found on the carved panels of the North Colonnade. Protruding serpent heads flank the top of each of its four stairways.

The final platform is the Platform of Venus, which is centered between El Castillo and the sacbe, or white stone road, that leads north to the Sacred Well. It is similar in design to the Platform of the Eagles and Jaguars except that the panels have glyphic depictions of the planet Venus.

The Sacred Well, also known as the Well of Sacrifice, lies at the end of the approx. 980 foot/330meter sacbe, Sacbe 1, that leads north from the Platform of Venus. It is a large sinkhole about 200 feet/66 meters across and 100 feet/33 meters in depth. This was indeed a sacred place. Pilgrims from throughout the Maya area ventured here to appease the rain god Chaac. The dredging of the cenote in the early 1900’s by Edward Thompson revealed many objects of jade, copper, and gold along with lumps of the sacred Maya blue paint. A small structure identified as a ritual sweat bath overlooks the cenote.

There is an infamous story that relates to the Well of Sacrifice. From at least the Terminal Classic Period (900-1100 A.D.) on there was a constant rivalry between the two main ethnic groups that occupied the Yucatan; the Xiu in the west, and the Itza in the east. Due to a prolonged drought during the early Colonial era, the Xiu wished to make a pilgrimage to the Sacred Well to make offerings to appease the rain god Chaac. Chichen Itza and the surrounding areas were controlled by the Itza. Arrangements were made for safe passage to the Sacred Well. Halfway to their destination, the Xiu representatives were massacred at a site known as Otzmal.

The Temple of the Big Tables is located in the Northeast portion of the Grand Terrace. It is a multi-tiered truncated pyramid. A central stairway leads to a summit temple, the entrance of which is flanked by two large serpent columns. The interior of the temple consists of numerous columns which once supported a roof of perishable materials. Just to the north is a colonnaded structure, Structure 2D6, and considered a gallery-courtyard structure.

The Temple of the Warriors is situated just to the south of the Temple of the Big Tables in the northeast section of the Grand Terrace. This large three-tiered, stepped pyramid has a temple structure on its leveled top which contains a famous reclining statue known as a Chac Mool. Its entrance is framed by two towering serpent columns. At the rear of the temple wall a long bench is supported by carved, stone Atlantean figures. The high exterior walls of the temple display numerous Chaac masks. A central carved panel features a human head emerging from the gaping jaws of the Feathered Serpent. A similar decoration is seen extending from the Palace at Labna.

During investigations by the Carnegie Institution in the 1920’s an interior structure was discovered and named Chacmool Temple. This sub-structure still exhibits richly colored walls and columns of warriors, serpents, and other individuals.

Facing the front of the Temple of the Warriors appear numerous pillars carved with richly attired warriors and other individuals. The scene has recently been interpreted as an actual event that took place at Chichen.

Adjoining the south side of the Temple of the Warriors is the Plaza of a Thousand Columns containing several structures.  It contains a series of raised platforms supporting hundreds of circular columns and square pillars in orderly rows. It is thought that they were supports for a roof system. At the site of Mayapan there is a striking architectural similarity to Chichen, even though it was constructed at a later time. What is interesting to note here is that at the base of these similar columns located at Mayapan there are stuccoed remains of human feet that were once probably full figures that adorned each column. If this were also true at Chichen it would have made a spectacular display.

​The first structure of note is known as the West Colonnade. This structure forms the east side of the Grand Terrace and runs a length of about 600’/183m. A raised platform supports five rows of plain, circular columns that at one time held a massive roof of perishable materials.

Near the center of the structure a passageway exists connecting the Grand Terrace into the Plaza of a Thousand Columns proper. At the southern end a small, colonnaded platform extends out to the west. It contains a structure exhibiting three vaulted chambers. A stairway leads down into the Grand Terrace.

The north side of the plaza has a structure similar to the West Colonnade and is named appropriately the North Colonnade. It contains 243 columns and 13 pillars, many displaying bas relief carvings of eagles and jaguars devouring human hearts, while others depict warriors. It abuts onto the north side of the Temple of the Warriors. An altar displays a ritual scene depicting incense offerings. Two stairways lead down into the plaza. A bench is located along the length of the back wall, while a passageway leads under the structure to a courtyard located behind the Temple of the Warriors containing a small ballcourt.

The northeast corner of the plaza contains a structure called the Northeast Colonnade (Are we confused yet?). This structure exhibits two construction phases that occurred between 900-1200 A.D. The first featured a colonnaded gallery with four chambers, and a south facing stairway onto a raised, terrace/courtyard. The second phase added a second floor to support additional chambers. Running along the base of this structure is a channel that drains rainwater away from the plaza.

The east side of the plaza is made up of several structures, including the aforementioned Northeast Colonnade. Next to it is the Temple of Sculptured Columns, which shares the same terrace, and is recessed off it on the far east side. It has a west facing gallery that has openings to interior chambers. The structure contains numerous sculptured, round columns of warriors. There was once a colorful mural covering an east chamber wall behind columns 19 and 20. A Chac Mool sculpture, and altar are located within the structure.

In front of the Temple of the Sculptured Columns is part of the frieze that once adorned the upper part of the structure. It has decorative elements that resemble X’s and O’s.

​The next structure is called the Temple of the Little Tables.  It is in an unrestored state. A central stairway led up to a second level containing two rooms with sculptured columns of warriors. A ballcourt and its attendant structures are located behind it.

The Southeast Colonnade takes up the southeast corner. It is an “L” shaped, colonnaded structure featuring rooms that run both south and west. Behind this structure, and to the east, is a partially restored steam bath. Sacbe 6 leads out from here to the southeast.

The Market is the main structure on the south side of the plaza. It is of the gallery-courtyard design. The gallery runs 266 feet/81meters on an east/west axis. A small stairway leads up from the Southeast Colonnade onto the gallery terrace. The main stairway is located in the center of the long gallery and leads up from the plaza. In the center of the structure is a sunken, courtyard with several still standing columns and capstones. An unrestored ballcourt is located in the southwest portion of the plaza.

Sacbe 10 leads from the Grand Terrace south to the Osario Plaza. This plaza has a number of structures around its perimeter, and also within the plaza.

The main structure here is the Osario, also known as the Temple of the High Priest. It is a stepped pyramid in the central portion of the plaza with staircases on all four sides that lead to its summit. The stairways are flanked by carved, serpent balustrades. The summit temple is entered from the four stairways through walled portals. A roofless, interior chamber contains four columns with a single entry from the east. The columns are decorated in bas relief. The temple was decorated with stucco and polychrome mythological scenes, including that of 96 supernatural birds. This numeral seems to have a symbolic meaning as other text such as those found at Ek Balam and elsewhere also contain 96 elements. Glyphic texts indicate a mid-ninth century date. An interior shaft descends downward to a sacred cave below the surface where two burials were discovered.

Three small structures form a single line to the east of the Osario through the center of the plaza. The first structure is a low circular platform presumably of a ritual nature. There follows the Venus Platform. This is a smaller version of the platform of the same name in the Grand Terrace.

The last of the three is named the Platform of the Tombs. This is low, square structure with 6 columns which supported a roof of perishable material. It is unusual in that there are no stairs that ascend the platform. Two tombs were located within the structure. A sacbe, Sacbe 15, leads out further east to the Xtoloc Temple which is near the rim of a cenote of the same name. This is a small, walled structure with central columns.

The southwest side of the Osario Plaza has the remains of two structures that were apparently residences of the sites’ elite. They are named the House of the Metates and the House of the Mestiza. Sacbe 4 leads south from the Osario Plaza to the Plaza of the Red House and the Caracol Plaza.

The Plaza of the Red House is a sub plaza of the Caracol Plaza located in the northwest corner. It contains several structures of which the Red House is the most prominent.

The Red House, also known as Chichanchoob (Little Holes in Yucatek Maya), is on the west portion of the sub-plaza. The temple is located atop a high platform base. The platform measures about 33’/10 m x 66’/20m. A stairway on the west side leads up to a single, corbeled vaulted temple with two attractive roof combs. It is situated on the center-line of the platform, and exhibits three entrances on the west side. A partially restored ballcourt is located against the east side of the Red House platform.

An important text was recovered from within the Red House that includes a reference to a fire ritual that took place in 869 A.D. under the direction of a ruler named K’ak u Pakal. Also present was a known ruler from Ek Balam, Hun Pik Tok.

The Temple of the Deer is found on the northwest section of the sub-plaza and runs on an east/west axis.  Again, the structure is located atop a high platform. It is in partially restored condition with the south side of the structure completely in ruins. ​There are small mounds of rubble that exist on both the west and south sides of the sub-plaza.

The Caracol (snail in Spanish) is located on the west side of the Caracol Plaza and is its main structure. It is set upon a square platform base, and is of a unique circular design. It is considered by most researchers to be an astronomical observatory. A spiral stairway once led to a second story. This part of the structure is in a partially restored state. The windows that are interspaced along the walls have been identified as observation points for observing celestial events and alignments, such as the moon and the passage of Venus.

The Caracol is built atop a huge platform measuring about 164ft/50m x 142ft/43 m. A broad, west facing stairway leads up from the plaza to the platform. A second stairway then extends up to a smaller, secondary platform that houses the Caracol itself.

Two inscribed monuments have been located with the Caracol structure. The first is a panel, Panel 1/Stela1, that is inscribed with glyphic text. The text records three dates between 884-890 A.D., and mentions the ruler K’ak u Pakal.

The second monument is known as the Caracol Disk. This circular stone depicts two horizontal scenes. A glyph band is incised along the rim. The inscription appears to mention an historically important re-founding ceremony of Chichen Itza in 930 A.D. by a Central Mexican group in conjunction with the local nobility. The cult of Quetzalcoatl seems to gain in importance in all aspects of ritual and architectural design from this point on.

The two scenes on the disk represent a ritual. The upper ritual is a conjuring ceremony of the “Feathered Serpent”, while the lower ceremony is directed to Xolotl, both of whom are supernatural manifestations of Quetzalcoatl.

A smaller platform extends out to the southwest from the Caracol platform. A single structure occupies the platform. A colonnaded anterior room leads into a single rear chamber.

On the south side of the Caracol platform are a number of structures in a degraded state. The most notable of these being a ritual steam bath. These structures form the north side of the Monjas Plaza.

The Monjas Plaza has several structures arranged around its perimeter. They mostly exhibit a Puuc style of architecture, and date from the late 9th century. Numerous glyphic inscriptions appear within some of the structures. An individual previously discussed, K’ak u Pakal, appears often. The west side of the plaza comprises a number of low mounds of rubble that join up at the southeast corner of the Red House Sub-Plaza.

The east side of the plaza is taken up by the Temple of the Sculptured Panels. This two-story structure is similar in design to the Temple of the Big Temples in the Grand Terrace. It features a "flying stairway", an architectural innovation that enabled a passageway beneath the stairway. The ground floor has a dozen or so columns within an open chamber. The second story temple has an open front with a twin column entrance. A rear opening faces east.

The north and south walls of the colonnade depict bas relief scenes of people, animals and plants both real and supernatural. Excavations revealed offerings related to the Fire Ritual ceremonies.

 Behind the Temple of the Sculptured Panels is a structure termed the Akab Dzib, House of Dark Writing in Yucatec Maya. Its original name has been identified as Wa(k)wak Puh, Flat House with Excessive Rooms.

​This 18-room palace structure is on ground level, situated on a north/south axis, and is noted for the glyphic inscriptions which were discovered within. The structure is over 163 feet/50 meters in length, and 49 feet/15 meters wide. The west facing side has seven entryways, while the east side has four. There are single entrances on both the north and the south side. The east side overlooks a dry cenote and has a stairway that leads to a ruined second story.

The south entryway into the Akab Dzib opens into a single chamber. The rear of this chamber exhibits an additional entryway into a second chamber. This entryway features a lintel with glyphs on its front face, and an inscribed panel on its under surface. It bears a date of 880 A.D., and mentions a ruler or official named Yahawal Cho K’ak.

The main structure of the south side of the plaza is called the Monjas, a fantasy name that means nunnery in Spanish. This massive structure holds a temple atop a very high, straight-walled platform. An impressive, plaza facing stairway leads to the top of the platform. A ruined portion of the platform wall reveals an earlier construction phase. The upper portion of the platform wall contains numerous Chaac masks along with other decorative elements.

The temple itself has 12 entrances, most interspersed between panels of a mosaic design. A central stairway then leads up to a third story housing a small temple structure with a single entrance on both its north and south sides. It features designs of a geometric nature that extends around the exterior of the temple.

A one-story extension is connected to the east side of the Monajas structure. It has entryways that face to the north, east and south. The east facing entrance has some extraordinary, ornate stone mosaic work including a central figure encased within a medallion element. Chaac masks adorn both the upper and lower façade. This entrance forms the west side of a courtyard named the Annex Courtyard containing several structures.

The Iglesia is a fabulous example of Puuc architecture located on the southeast corner of the Monjas Plaza. It is a one-story, single chambered structure with a west facing entrance. Elaborate Chaac masks adorn the upper façade. A west facing roof comb contains Chaac masks as well, and only adds to the grandeur of this small structure.

The north and east side of the Annex Courtyard is taken up by the remains of three structures exhibiting lows walls and interior columns. The south side structure gives the courtyard its name. This is a small, one-story, corbeled roof structure with a single entryway to the north and one to the east. Chaac masks adorn the façade. The southwest corner of the courtyard has a ruined structure that leads into yet a smaller courtyard behind the Monjas structure. A number of other structures in a reduced state of preservation are located within this small courtyard as well as another group behind it to the immediate south.

To the west of the Monjas structure is a sacbe, Sacbe 7, that leads further south to an important secondary group known as Old Chichen or The Initial Series Group. This area is not open to the public.

The Initial Series Group is set upon a broad, raised plaza and consists of several large structures, a palace complex, and numerous minor structures. Symbols of cacao are found in abundance on the facades of the structures as well as within. The group is entered from the northwest corner through a nicely restored archway and exhibits a mostly Puuc style of architecture. The main plaza is broken up into two sub-plazas; the North Plaza, and the Southwest Plaza.

The most important structure is the Temple of the Initial Series, also known as Structure 5C4, located on the east side of North Plaza. It features a two-chamber temple set upon a platform base with a west facing stairway. A Chac Mool sculpture is located on the west side of the structure, while a plaza level entryway is observed on the south side. Within this structure a lintel was discovered which contains the only Long Count date found at Chichen Itza: 9 Muluk 7 Sak; July 30, 878 A.D. The temple façade featured serpent motifs with each corner displaying double Chaac masks, and also incorporated Venus star emblems on all sides. Excavations have revealed an earlier structure beneath named the Temple of the Stuccos, whose construction dates to c.650 A.D.

Casa del Yugo, and Casa del Tambor are located on the north side of the North Plaza. Casa del Yugo is a colonnaded structure measuring about 72 feet/22 meters x 29 feet/9 meters. It has a broad, south facing stairway that leads up to an open chamber. It still contains numerous columns that once supported a flat roof, and may have been of a civic nature. Casa del Tambor is a multi-chambered structure set upon a low platform. It has a west facing stairway.

 Between these structures and the main entry arch is a small altar, 5C1a. A number of burials were discovered within and about the altar.

In the center of the North Plaza is a circular platform, the Platform of the Turtle, used for dance or other ritual.  A burial and an offering of flint knives were located within a sub-structure of the platform. It has a diameter of 31 feet/9.5 meters. Other burials have been located beneath the plaza floor.

Casa Chac Mool, 5C12, is a small platform housing a single chamber, located on the west side of the plaza. It is named after a Chacmool monument set in front of the structure. Within this structure a rich burial was uncovered of a high-ranking individual named 10 Deer. He is also represented in a relief on the façade of the Gallery of the Monkeys.

The Temple of the Owls, Structure 5C7, is a one-story structure located in the center of the Southwest Plaza. It sits upon a low platform and has a height of 14 feet/4.2 meters. The collapsed building was completely reconstructed between 1999-2002. It features a single entryway between two pillars carved in low relief on all four sides. The door jambs are carved as well, while a frieze extends across the upper façade. A now destroyed painted capstone within the structure has given it a tentative date of c.870 A.D. An interior sanctuary contains a single bench. The upper portions of the interior walls once contained vivid murals now destroyed.

A large owl figure consisting of five blocks was discovered and restored from within the structure. The upper façade features ten owl decorations interspersed between human/bird figures. The façade is bordered by two rows of turtles. At the corners are Chaac masks. Over the entryway is a figural decoration, and representations of cacao pods.

A vividly painted panel within the structure depicts the Maya god K’awiil emerging from a serpent holding a bowl possibly containing cacao, and jade ear spools. An incomplete date is mentioned in the glyphic text. Sky bands frame the sides of the panel.

Tucked into the southeast corner of the North Plaza is the Temple of the Columns, also known as the Gallery of the Moon. This structure is set upon a base roughly 104 feet/32 meters square, slightly larger than the Initial Series structure. A long, lengthwise chamber is entered between four round columns. The columns and their capstones are intricately carved. A rear doorway leads into a square chamber that contains multiple columns that once supported a flat roof of perishable materials.

Casa de las Cabacitas, 5C3, is a small, single chambered structure located on the plaza level of the south side of the North Plaza. It has a south facing stairway that opens up onto the Southwest Plaza.

The Gallery of the Monkeys, 5C6, is located on the west side of the Southwest Plaza. It is a range-type structure with the main structure on the south end, and a long colonnaded gallery extending to the north. This structure is named for the numerous depictions of monkeys that appear within two bands of a frieze. The Maya associated monkeys with cacao, fertility and sexuality. 

 Across from the Gallery of the Monkeys is a palace complex containing numerous structures and chambers. Some of these are interconnected by interior galleries and courtyards, while others simply face out onto the plaza.

The largest of the structures forming the complex is the Casa Caracol. This is a two-story, elongated building and features a range-type construction with multiple, corbeled arched roofs. It has a number of entryways with one featuring a pair of Atlantean columns, and faces onto the Southwest Plaza. An interior courtyard exhibits a stairway to the second level, and to the Temple of the Dancing Jaguars which contains multiple chambers entered between a set of twin columns.

The north side of the complex contains the House of the Phallus so named for its numerous phallic decorations, and images of self-sacrifice. The southeast corner of the complex contains the House of the Atlantes Columns. This structure is named after the two Atlantean columns that once supported a flat roof of perishable material.

​Further to the south are other smaller groups and individual structures.  These include the House of Three Lintels, the House of Four Lintels, and the Old Castillo among others. As sufficient information becomes available, they will be reported on.

updated march 2020


tzompantli                                    bubba73

​temple of the sculptured panels                 raymundo1972

NE  colonnade & sculptured temple                   steve mellard .

akab dzib                                                                         hjpd

monjas upper temple north view c1895       a.d.white/cornell

gallery of the moon                     giovanni agostino frassetto

el castillo jaguar throne                     hjpd

house of the drum                      giovanni agostino frassetto

site map                                                                     hjpd

temple of the warriors              sigvald linne expedition 1932

great ball court south temple                              carlos delgado

osario  and round platform                                altairisfar

upper jaguar temple                           hjpd

​great ball court north temple                       carlos delgado

ball court red house plaza                              steve mellard

temple of the red house                            wolfgang sauber

house of the snails                      giovanni agostino frassetto

platform of the turtle                      giovanni agostino frassetto

monjas                                                      dronepicir

platform of the tombs                                     sarvol

great ball court panel                             steve mellard

house of the atlantean columns      giovanni agostino frassetto

el castillo c.1890                                teobert maler

market                                                    regis lachaume

caracol                                          john romkey

monjas upper temple south view                            hjpd

akab dzib/house of the scribe                  hjpd

xtoloc temple                                               annagoria

initial series site map       giovanni agostino frassetto

south east group                                                    hjpd

temple of the owls                     giovanni agostino frassetto

north colonnade                                                 steve mellard

house of the yoke                      giovanni agostino frassetto

​temple of the big tables                     wolfgang sauber

great ball court                                     jan zatko

venus platform                          steve mellard

great ballcourt serpent & panel                Steve mellard

casa del chac mool                       giovanni agostino frassetto

west collonade structure                                         imadanat

la iglesia                                                    steve mellard

house of the deer                                           hjpd

caracol/monjas plaza overview                            dronepicir

temple of the dancing jaguars        giovanni agostino frassetto

el castillo                                                   kukulkaneit1mx

chacmool figure                agustus le plongeon 1875

gallery of the monkeys                 gioanni agostino frassetto.

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sweatbath                                                   regis lachaume

grand terrace overview                                       dronepicir.

​annex                                                             raymundo1972