Chichen Itza is the most famous, visited and extensively restored Mayan site in Mexico.
It is located conveniently from Merida along the main road to Cancun and the Caribbean coast.
At Chichen Itza the people worshipped the god-king Kukulcan who was the Mayan representation of Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent. The focus of ritual, religious and political power was the Kukulcan pyramid, or El Castillo, which stands in the centre of the plaza.
Chichen Itza was one of the greatest cities of the ancient Mayan civilisation and as such its annual equinox festival has a special status in the Yucatan; every year in March up to 70,000 visitors flock to the site to witness the shadow of the snake descend the pyramid, which according to Mayan cosmology was used to predict coming fortunes.