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INAH will open new temples in the middle of the jungle in Chichén Itzá – The Yucatan Times

The idea is to show a place, surrounded by its true nature, located to the south, about 900 meters from “El Castillo”, the Mayan ceremonial center’s main pyramid.

PISTÉ Yucatan, Mexico (INAH) – Archaeological vestiges reached through the jungle, like Angkor Wat in Cambodia, is the experience Mexican archaeologists want to offer the public who visit the Archaeological Zone of Chichén Itzá.

The idea is to offer an inhospitable place, located to the south, about 900 meters from El Castillo. The main pyramid of the Mayan ceremonial center, in the site known as Chichén Viejo, says to Milenio Diario Marco Antonio Santos, director of the Archaeological Zone of Chichén Itzá.

“This new space represents a formidable experience because it is nestled in the jungle, it is a kind of neighborhood that contains temples and palaces in whose decorations evoke scenes, possibly from the Popol Vuh; that is, from the moment of creation of the cosmos. Here the priests officiated and performed rituals related to fertility and primordial divine events,” he explains.

The archaeologist of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) indicates that exploration works were stopped due to the pandemic of covid-19, which will be resumed this year to condition the site and open it to the public until 2022. 

He indicates that Chichén Itzá was an enormous city, since it covers about 20 square kilometers of extension, and what the public can visit is less than 3 percent of the territory.

“To enter this new site, you will have to make a reservation, because a reduced number of people can only visit it. We want people to see what a Mayan palace is amid the original flora and fauna because, in the entire polygonal protection zone, hunting and logging are not allowed. Surprisingly, now with the confinement, the jungle has regenerated, we have seen how the deer and jaguars have returned to Chichén Itzá”, affirms the director of the Archaeological Zone.

This represents a change because, for a long time, archaeological excavations were dedicated to “peeling the vegetation from the sites, until we archaeologists realized that it was a serious mistake because we were taking away the skin that has protected the sites. What we are looking for now is a balance between archaeological research and protection of the forest”.

Since September, with sanitary protocols.
Chichén Itzá is a development pole in all senses. On the one hand, it contemplates a patrimonial issue of the first order, and on the other hand, the issue of the economic spill generated in the southeast.

Marco Antonio Santos, director of the Archaeological Zone of Chichén Itzá, details that after the pandemic, the site registered a great influx of visitors: “In 2019 we had around 2.5 million visitors, already last year, because of covid-19, we received around 950 thousand people, almost a third of last year’s visits.” 

To prevent infection at the Chichén Itzá zone, a sanitary safety protocol was placed between INAH and the state government so that people can visit on safe terms. For this purpose, the use of masks, gels, temperature, and healthy distance is mandatory. “These sanitary measures will continue until we are in the green regarding the health traffic light,” he emphasizes.

“We are sure that with the Mayan Train, these 2.5 million visitors will multiply exponentially. We believe that it can include this stop, which could be located outside the protection polygon of the archaeological zone, to avoid any affectation to the monuments”.

Other discoveries
In 2016 a pyramid was found, located by UNAM researchers with a 3D electrical resistivity tomography; it is a pyramidal structure from the Puuc period, with a height of about eight meters.

The Yucatan Times
Newsroom

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