Hidden side of Chichén Itzá will open its doors to tourists
Published byon July 25, 2023
In a thrilling announcement, the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) revealed that starting from September 2023, a previously unknown area within the ancient ruins of Chichén Itzá, referred to as “Old Chichén,” will be unveiled to the public. The director-general of INAH, Diego Prieto Hernández, disclosed this exciting news during a recent press conference, underscoring the potential for a more enriching experience for visitors.
Chichén Itzá, along with Teotihuacán, holds the distinction of being among Mexico’s most visited archaeological sites. With extensive research and excavation efforts underway, the opening of the new site, known as Chichén Viejo or initial series, promises to provide a glimpse into the ancient city that predates the familiar monumental area we know today.
According to Prieto Hernández, Ek’Balam, an ancient city smaller than Chichén Itzá but boasting remarkable Mayan artistry, will be a prominent feature of the newly accessible site. The ongoing research work has progressed significantly, particularly in areas like the Acropolis, a monumental structure that stands as a testament to the Mayan civilization’s grandeur.
As part of the unveiling, Chichén Itzá will also welcome its first large archaeological site museum, with notable progress reported by INAH at 35%. The museum will showcase an impressive collection curated to offer visitors a profound understanding of the Mayan culture and heritage.
Among the captivating discoveries are offerings with five vessels that bear striking similarities to cultural areas in southern Campeche, Tabasco, and Guatemala’s highlands. This indicates a robust interconnection between different cultural regions within the Mesoamerican Mayan area, underscoring the rich tapestry of ancient civilizations.
In an effort to enhance the overall visitor experience, a Visitor Service Center (Catvi) will be established, offering essential services and ensuring a friendly encounter with this awe-inspiring archaeological zone.
INAH authorities are also seizing the opportunity presented by the Mayan Train project to explore and preserve the region’s tourist potential. As part of these efforts, 16 human burials and 145 natural features associated with the landscape have been uncovered.
The development of museums around the railway route is being actively considered, with the Yucatan People’s History Museum receiving support from the state government. Additionally, a Chichén Itzá hotel is in the works, situated about one kilometer from the archaeological zone, poised to add a new dimension to the visitors’ experience.
As construction on the Mayan Train reaches 95% completion for section 4, the focus now shifts to finalizing the stations at Chichén Itzá and Cancún, with hopes that the train will boost tourism in the region, opening up new possibilities for exploration and appreciation of Mexico’s ancient cultural heritage.
With September 2nd approaching, eager travelers and history enthusiasts can hardly wait to embark on a unique journey through time at Chichén Itzá’s hidden marvels, immersing themselves in the fascinating world of the ancient Mayans.
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