Chichen Itza senot

The Mayan city of Chichen Itza is located 120 km east of the city of Merida in the Mexican state of Yucatan. This city was founded in 455 by Indian Indians. And next door was the Chichen Itza senot, by whose name Chichen Itza got its name - "The mouth of the well (tribe) of the egg". Two centuries later (in 692) the people left the city.

And next door was the Chichen Itza senot, by whose name Chichen Itza got its name - The mouth of the well (tribe) of the egg

For three centuries, Chichen Itza was the most significant city in the whole Mayan world and the most important center of pilgrimage, playing the same role in pre-Columbian America as played by Knossos in Crete or Ur in Mesopotamia. Chichen Itsu is sometimes called the "Paris of the Mayan world".

The decline of Chichen Itza began at the end of the 12th century. About 1200 the ruler of Mayapan Hunak Keel defeated Chichen Itza, and after this devastation the city could not recover.

One of the most mysterious monuments of Chichen Itza for a long time remained the famous well, which gave the name of the city, the sacred senot, the "Well of Sacrifices", the main natural reservoir and the heart of Chichen Itza. Processions of pilgrims stretched to this well from all over Yucatan. From the sacred cenote, the roads paved with white limestone made their way, connecting Chichen Itza with other major Mayan cities.

Cenotes (from the Mayan word "zonot") played a special role in the life of the Maya. In Yucatan, unlike the wooded south, there are neither rivers nor even streams - limestone covering the entire territory of the peninsula is extremely porous, and therefore water seeps through it, as through sand. But, penetrating through the limestone bark, the water merges with the underground rivers, fills holes and craters - and so throughout the Yucatan deep natural reservoirs, cenotes have formed. In many Mayan cities, they were revered as sacred places - because the water completely depended on the economy of the Maya farmers. Where there were cenotes, even in ancient times, important centers of the original Maya civilization emerged and developed.

There were two cenotes in Chichen Itza. One of them was known from local Indians under the name "Stolok" ("iguana"). Its edges are not very steep, and therefore it was the main source of water for the city. Another cenote is the famous "Well of Victims". It is a giant circular funnel with a diameter of about 60 m. Its steep walls, built of limestone, abruptly break down to dark green water. In the wall of the cenot the staircase was scraped. According to her, the women of Chichen-Itza descended to the water to collect it in clay vessels. From the edge of the well to the water mirror is 21 m. The depth of the cenote, including the multimetric thickness of the silt, reaches 58 m.

The Cenot Chichen Itza was a place of ritual sacrifice and pilgrimage

The Cenot Chichen Itza was a place of ritual sacrifice and pilgrimage. According to the legend, among the gifts brought here, there were human victims: with appropriate ceremonial rites in the city, the virgins were thrown.

This beautiful legend attracted Edward Herbert Thompson, the American consul in Merida, to Chichen Itz. He came here in 1904, burning with a desire to unravel the mystery of the "sacred cenot".

With the help of an excavator and diving equipment, Thompson managed to pick up from the bottom of the Chichen Itza cenote not only numerous ornaments from nephritis, gold, copper and many other items, but also the remains of at least forty-two people who were once tossed into the Senote. Thus, the reports of the old chronicles about human sacrifices were confirmed.

However, out of 42 extracted skulls, as it turned out, 13 belonged to adult men aged 18 to 55, 8 to women aged 18 to 54 and 21 to children from 1 to 12 years. The beautiful legend of young virgins, alas, has remained a legend: the results of a study of human bones found in the well indicate that children were sacrificed more often than adults.

Thompson's works in Chichen Itza opened a new chapter in the history of archaeological science - in fact they laid the foundation for underwater archeology. But the study of the "sacred cenot" did not end there. In 1961, the expedition of the National Institute of Anthropology and History in Mexico City worked in Chichen Itza. For four months of searching, Mexican archaeologists have found a ceramic goblet and rubber figures of people and animals, beads, pieces of polished jade, gold pendants and dozens of copper bells. From the bottom of the well they removed a wooden doll wrapped in scraps of worn cloth, wooden earrings with mosaic insets and a beautiful bone knife, the handle of which was decorated with hieroglyphics and wrapped in gold foil.

In 1967, an expedition of Mexican scientists again went to Chichen Itza. In the course of new research, two carved wooden thrones were found in the depths of the cenote, about a hundred clay jars and bowls of various sizes, shapes and ages, pieces of cloth, gold ornaments, jade, rock crystal, bone, mother of pearl; amber, copper and onyx. And again human bones...

And today only the giant ruins remind of the former greatness of the city of Chichen Itza. And the "sacred senot" eventually turned into a dirty hole covered with creeping plants, filled with green water.