Spectacular Pyramid of Kukulcan
at Chich'en Itza, Mexico
Not all pyramids are in Egypt. Every equinox this Mayan pyramid puts on a spooky ancient light show.
A two-and-a-half hour bus ride from Cancun takes you away from the thumping parties of spring break and into the once thriving ancient capital of the Yucatán Mayans—Chich’en Itza. During the spring and autumn equinoxes thousands of tourists and locals pack in around the pyramid to recreate the parties of a thousand years ago—sans the cutting out of hearts—and to watch the “descent of Kukulcan.” A carnival atmosphere fills the surrounding meadow with sounds of drums, traditional music and cheering crowds.
A handclap near the base of the pyramidal results in an unusual chirping echo, which is said to replicate the call of the sacred quetzal bird.
All legends aside, crafty and mathematically brilliant architecture combined with the natural rotation of the Earth creates an amazing and somewhat eerie image of a giant snake crawling down the temple. For five hours an illusion of light and shadow creates seven triangles on the side of the staircase starting at the top and inching its way down until it connects the top platform with the giant stone head of the feathered serpent at the bottom. For 45 minutes this impressive shadow stays in its entirety before slowing descending the pyramid and disappearing along with the crowd that gathered to see it.
This phenomena is recreated nightly (artificially) during the Light and Sounds Show at 7pm in the winter and 8pm in the summer.
Chich’en Itza is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Clancy's comment: Amazing, eh? I'd love to visit this wonder. The more I discover places like this, the more I believe we humans haven't come all that far. Some of these ancient people were extraordinary, and they had no computers, Google or Facebook.