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Chichen Itza The ruined ancient city occupying an area of 4 square miles 10 square km in south-central state It is located some 90 miles 150 km east-northeast of and 75 miles 120 km east-southeast of the modern city of The only source of water in the arid region around the site is from wells cenotes formed by sinkholes in limestone formations Two big cenotes on the site made it a suitable place for the city and gave it its name from chi mouths chen wells and Itz the name of the Maya tribe that settled there Chichn Itz was designated a UNESCO in 1988 Chichn was founded about the 6th century AD presumably by Maya peoples of the Yucatn Peninsula who had occupied the region since the Pre-Classic or Formative Period 1500 BC-AD 300 The principal early buildings are in an architectural style known as which shows a number of divergences from the styles of the southern lowlands These earliest structures are to the south of the Main Plaza and include the Akabtzib House of the Dark Writing the Chichanchob Red House the Iglesia Church the Casa de las Monjas Nunnery and the observatory El Caracol The Snail There is evidence that in the 10th century after the collapse of the Maya cities of the southern lowlands Chichn was invaded by foreigners probably Maya speakers who had been strongly influenced by--and perhaps were under the direction of--the of central Mexico These invaders may have been the Itz for whom the site is named some authorities however believe the Itz arrived 200 to 300 years later In any event the invaders were responsible for the construction of such major buildings as the Castillo the great pyramid which rises 79 feet 24 metres above the Main Plaza The Castillo has four sides each with 91 stairs and facing a cardinal direction including the step on the top platform these combine
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