The pyramid at Chichen Itza
El Castillo (Kukulkan-Quetzalcoatl) a square-based step pyramid was built for astronomical purposes and during the vernal equinox (March 20) and autumnal equinox (Sept 21) the sun bathes the western balustrade of the pyramid’s main stairway. This causes seven isosceles triangles to form the body of a huge serpent 37 yards long that creeps downwards until it joins the huge serpent’s head at the bottom of the stairway. This is what they call the “symbolic descent of Kukulkan (the feathered serpent) – this is a huge tourist draw. Our tour guide in Puerto Vallarta informed us that one must make reservations for this event months in advance.
El Castillo served as a temple to the god Kukulkan and is believed to have served as a calendar. Each of the structure’s four stairways contains 91 steps. When counting the top platform as another step, in total El Castillo has 365 steps, one step for each day of the year.
The structure is 24 m (78 ft) tall, plus and additional 6 m (20 ft) for the temple top for a total height of 30 m (98 ft). The square base measures 55.3 m (181 ft) across.
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