The Yucatan and My Trip to Chichén Itza

When we say Yucatan, we imagine the cities lost in the jungle… mysterious and majestic ruins…

But one word does not come to most people's minds: Disillusionment.

To say that it was full when we visited is an understatement.

I always wanted to visit the ruins, and yes, with that I am guilty for traveling their but I did not expect what we found. But I felt that Chichén Itza was disappointing. Not because I was underwhelmed, the ruins themselves, which remain quite beautiful (although you can no longer explore them). You can clearly see why it has become an UNESCO Heritage site. What detracted was a scourge of our modern society, one that respects nothing: mass tourism.

The large hotels on the coast send buses daily filled with people who want to make a cultural outing between the beach and the partying (many come in swimsuits). I saw more bikinis at the site than I care to count. Just do a search and look at the images that come up and you will know what I mean.

A scandal really for something as majestic of a place as this.

Chichén Itza is an ancient Mayan city located between Valladolid and Mérida in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Chichén Itza was probably, in the 10th century, the main religious center of yucatan; today it remains one of the most important and visited archaeological sites in the region. The site was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988, and was elected on 7 July 2007 as one of the seven new wonders of the world after a controversial vote organized by the New Seven Wonders Foundation.

The presence of a Mayan city at this location is due to the presence of at least five natural wells which were an invaluable treasure in this waterless region. The site owes its name to this groundwater source: Chi means "mouth" and Chén means "well". Itza ("water wizard" in Yucatan Mayan) is the name of the group that, according to ethnohistorical sources, was the ruling class of the city.

In more ways than one, Chichén Itza remains an enigma: the chronology, straddling the Terminal Classic (c. AD 800–900) and the Postclassic period (c. AD 900–1200, remains unclear; the identity of the Itza is uncertain and, above all, the exact nature of the undeniable links between the Mayan city and central Mexico is still the subject of debate.

The first traces of occupation and construction, in Chichén Itza, were dated to the 8th or 9th century. The final architectural plan was developed in the 10th century, with the emergence of the regional power of the city, which became the capital of the central area to the north coast of Yucatan, and whose power extended to the east and west coasts of the peninsula. According to the data available to archaeologists, Chichén Itza lost this regional power and depopulated in the 11th century.

For a site with so much history to watch parents shuffle their children from one souvenir stand to the next was saddening. A place so inspiring with no solemnity, no reflection: a horror.

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