El Castillo, Chichen Itza

Spanish for castle, El Castillo is a Mayan step pyramid in the archeological site of Chichen Itza, Mexico. El Castillo was built some time between 9th and 12 century AD. Each side of the pyramid is 91 steps and there is one final step at the top to enter the temple. This totals 365 steps, the same as the Mayan calendar.  Every year on the spring and autumn equinox the sun hits the northern set of stairs at an angle that creates the shadow of a snake running down the side of the steps. The statue of a snake head sits at the bottom on either side of these stairs. The serpent is a highly respected figure for the Mayan People. Here is an example of the phenomenon in action!

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