The New Wonders of the World: Chichen Itza

Il Castillo

The New Seven Wonders of the World project was designed in 2007 by a private company to develop a new, more modern list of wonders of the world that went beyond the borders of the ancient world.  Since it was a popularity poll, programs were initiated by individual nations to encourage their populaces to vote for a specific site.  More than 100 million votes were cast by Internet or phone with multiple votes allowed.  While the United Nations initially supported the project, it withdrew its support because of the operation of the program and the competition with its own World Heritage sites.

The Great Ball Court

Chichen Itza is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and a World Heritage site.  It is a large pre-Columbian archaeological site located in the Yucatán peninsula, of present-day Mexico which was built by the Maya-Toltec civilization between the 10th-15th centuries.  The Chichen Itza monuments which includes the Great Ball Court, Temple of Kukulkan and Temple of the Warriors, are considered masterpieces of Mesoamerican architecture pre-Hispanic civilizations.  In the 10th century Toltec warriors migrated from the Mexican plateau .  The King of Tula, Ce Acatl Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl, took the city between 967 and 987, subjugated the local population, and imposed the ritual of human sacrifice on the inhabitants. 

Temple of the Warriors

In 1526 Spanish Conquistador Francisco de Montejo (a veteran of the Grijalva and Cortés expeditions) successfully petitioned the King of Spain for a charter to conquer the Yucatán. Montejo sent his son, Francisco Montejo The Younger, in late 1532 to conquer the interior of the Yucatán Peninsula. The objective from the beginning was to go to Chichén Itzá and establish a capital which he renamed Ciudad Real. At first he encountered no resistance, and set about awarding the lands around the city to his soldiers. After a rebellion, he was forced to abandon Chichén Itzá in 1534 under cover of darkness. By 1535, all Spanish had been driven from the Yucatán Peninsula.  By 1588, however, it was part of a working cattle ranch. The ruins were not excavated until 1841.

Tomorrow, Christ the Redeemer Rita Bay

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