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Steps of El Castillo
Chichen Itza
About Chichén Itzá
Ancient Observatories



Chichén Itzá: Old and New
Lattice There are two different areas in Chichén Itzá, evidenced by the different types of architecture. The older section was settled before the Toltec conquest and its buildings are of a distinct style called Puuc, named for the hilly region in the southwestern Yucatan. Among the distinctive aspects of Puuc architecture are the latticelike, crisscross designs on the front of buildings and the long hook-nosed masks of the rain god Chac that appear on the corners and sides of many structures. And it is in this area that we find the Caracol, a unique structure that was once thought to be of little use but is now believed by many to have served as an observatory.

El CaracolThe newer section of Chichén Itzá was constructed after the Toltecs arrived. Though the Mayan monster masks are ubiquitous in the buildings here, much of the architecture exhibits a strong Toltec influence. Buildings are decorated with images of Toltec officials and feathered serpents.

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