August 14, 2015

0425, 1817 MEXICO (Yucatán) - Pre-Hispanic City of Chichen-Itza (UNESCO WHS)

0425 Chichén Itzá - Aerial view

Posted on 21.12.2012, 14.08.2015
What postcard would be more apropriate for today, December 21, 2012 (when, according to the mayan calendar, the fourth world reached the end of its 13th b'ak'tun, and the Great Cycle of the Long Count reached completion), than the one with Chichén Itzá? "Chichen Itzá was at one time not only the greatest and most powerful city in Yucatan, but it was a sacred city as well, a center of pilgrimage to which people flocked from every part of the peninsula and from foreign countries also to make offerings of gold, incense, copper, precious stones and human victims", is written in the Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel

1817 Chichén Itzá - The Castle seen from the Temple of  the Warriors

"The city owed its reputation for sanctity to its cenote, 1 or natural well, which was believed to be inhabited by the gods and the spirits of the illustrious dead. It is a great cup-shaped depression in the earth with perpendicular walls, about seventy feet down to the surface of the water and about one hundred and seventy feet across. The sacred well served no utilitarian purpose; the city obtained its water from another more convenient cenote and several artificial wells."

Chichén Itzá (which in Yucatec Maya means "at the mouth of the well of the Itza") was a major focal point in the northern Maya lowlands from the Late Classic (c.600-900 AD) into the early portion of the Early Postclassic period (c.900-1200). According to the same Maya chronicle cited above, "this was Hunac Ceel, later the head-chief of Mayapan who conquered Chichen Itzá and drove out its inhabitants. He was evidently of the stuff of which rulers are made, a man with sufficient courage and force of character to shape his own destiny." But archaeological data indicates that Chichen Itzá declined by 1250 CE, before the rise of  Mayapan. When the Spanish arrived, they found a thriving local population, although it isn't clear if Maya were living in Chichen Itzá or nearby.

Dominating the North Platform is the Temple of Kukulkan (a serpent deity similar to the Aztec Quetzalcoatl), usually referred to as El Castillo (The Castle). This step pyramid stands about 30m high and consists of a series of nine square terraces, with a temple upon the summit. On the Spring and Autumn equinoxes, in the late afternoon, the northwest corner of the pyramid casts a series of triangular shadows against the western balustrade on the north side that evokes the appearance of a serpent wriggling down the staircase.

The Temple of the Warriors complex consists of a large stepped pyramid fronted and flanked by rows of carved columns depicting warriors. This temple encases a former structure called The Temple of the Chac Mool. Along the south wall are a series of the exposed columns, which probably have supported a roof system. The columns are in three sections: an east group, that extends the lines of the front of the Temple of Warriors; a north group, which runs along the south wall of the Temple of Warriors and contains pillars with carvings of soldiers in bas-relief; and a northeast group, which apparently formed a small temple at the southeast corner of the Temple of  the Warriors, which contains a rectangular decorated with carvings of people or gods, as well as animals and serpents.

About the stamps
On the postcard 0425 

The stamp is part of a series issued on march 2011 and entitled México creación popular (Folk Art Mexico):
tinaja de barro canelo - Tonalá / Jalisco (0.50 MXN) - It's on the postcard 1063
baul de madera laqueada - Olinala / Guerrero (1.00 MXN) - It's on the postcard 0498
peine de cuerno - San Antonio la Isla / Estado de México (1.50 MXN) - It's on the postcard 1063
cantaro de barro negro - San Bartolo Coyotepec / Oaxaca (2.00 MXN) - It's on the postcard 1063
torito de papel - Tultepec / Estado de México (2.50 MXN) - It's on the postcard 1817
rebozo de seda caramelo - Santa Maria del Rio / San Luis Potosi (5.00 MXN) - It's on the postcard 1817
muneca de plata pella - Guanajuato / Guanajuato (7.00 MXN) - It's on the postcard 0658
jarron de cobre - Santa Clara del Cobre / Michoacan (7.50 MXN)
mantel bondado - Tenango de Doria / Hidalgo (9.00 MXN)
cesto corita seri - Punta Chueca / Sonora (10.50 MXN) -It's on the postcard 1580
cesto corita seri - Punta Chueca / Sonora (11.50 MXN) - It's on the postcard 1384
guaje de plata - México / Distrito Federal (13.00 MXN) - It's on the postcard 1672
guaje de plata - México / Distrito Federal (13.50 MXN) - It's on the postcard 0425
marimba de ambar - Tuxtla Gutierrez / Chiapas (15.00 MXN) - It's on the postcard 1491

On the postcard 1817
The first two stamps are part of the same series about which I wrote above. The last stamp is part of a series issued to mark the centenary of the Mexican Revolution.

This is a post for Postcard Friendship Friday #147, hosted on Beth's blog The Best Hearts are Crunchy. Click on the button below to visit all the other participants.

Chichén Itzá - Wikipedia
Chilam Balam - Sacred Texts

Sender 0425: Eric Clemente Figueira (direct swap)
Sent from Mexico City (Yucatán / Mexico), on 11.05.2012
Photo: Luis Gomez C.
Sender 1817: Martha T
Sent from ??? (Yucatán / Mexico), on 15.07.2015


  1. The perfect card for today! Happy PFF!

  2. You are right! That IS the perfect postcard for today. I've heard that today might be the end of the world (according to the Mayan calendar) for years--I read about it when I was a little girl and thought, "Wow--that's a LONG ways away." lol And here I am, the day has arrived in the blink of an eye. Amazing.

    Thank you for sharing, and Happy PFF!

  3. And I am glad and relieved that all is not over after all!

  4. It's probably still 21 December in Mexico so not over yet.... :)

    The card brings back some happy memories when my husband and I visited that part of Mexico. It's a wonderful place. I also remember the heat of the sun - and it wasn't even summer.

  5. I was born on December 21 and, as I was told, "an entire planet celebrates with you today" on 21.12.2012, a day that is actually a bridge to another spiritual level and consciousness. I was sure that you will choose a special postcard for this special day: 21.12.2012. :-) Ana

    1. La mulţi ani. Cu prea mare întârziere, ce-i drept, dar şi cu sinceritate.

    2. Multumesc frumos, Danut! :-) Nu este nicio problema...legat de intarziere, pentru ca oricum stiu ca ziua aceea, de 21.12.2012, a reprezentat pentru multi dintre noi o zi importanta... Stiu ca si pentru tine.
      "Craciun Fericit!" alaturi de toti cei dragi tie, cu multa Lumina in suflet, sanatate, liniste interioara, bucurii si un strop de magie (precum cea din minunatul cantec "When You Wish Upon A Star")! Sa ai Sarbatori Fericite!