in the Mexican state Yucatan:
First, I went to a Yucatec - the Maya archaeological site of Ek' Balam. This is the former city of the Mayan civilization, which existed from the 3rd century BC.
Nowadays, there's a museum anyone can visit for $6.50 (as of 2015).
The main pyramid of Ek' Balam is a majestic building with lots of steps.
Unlike most of the Mayan pyramids in Mexico, which are forbidden to ascend for several years on the strong recommendation of UNESCO, there were no such restrictions in Ek' Balam, so you can climb the pyramid.
From above, at a height of 98 feet (30 meters), there's a view of the Acropolis and a small pyramid, which is also called the "twin pyramid".
It is much more difficult to descend: the steps are quite high (15-19 inches/ 40-50 cm each) and narrow. People have to go down sideways, or turn their body as they ascend.
Everyone should be especially careful, as one awkward movement is enough to fly down the millennial stairs from the height of the tenth floor. I doubt you would like it.
The main Mayan pyramid complex not far from Ek' Balam -
. It is translated as the "mouth of the well of water sorcerers". Now it is a place of pilgrimage for tourists from all over the world.
The entrance ticket cost about $11 (as of 2015).
One can order the services of a guide. Note that the prices are indicated in Mexican peso.
The Temple of Kukulkan (
) is the main structure in the city of Maya. This is a nine-story pyramid, 78 feet (24 meters) tall with broad staircases on each side.
During the spring and autumn equinoxes, at about 3 pm, the sun's rays illuminate the western balustrade of the main staircase of the pyramid in such a way that the light and shadows form the image of seven isosceles triangles constituting the body of a 121 foot (37-meter) tall snake, "creeping" along with the sun toward its own head carved at the base of the stairs.
This is the Temple of Warriors:
Tourists mostly crowded together around the main pyramid. If you clap your hands a little apart from the western stairs, the pyramid will respond with a heavy echo.
There were souvenirs sold around.
This is a large field for ball games:
The ball games were quite bloodthirsty for Maya at Chichen Itza: the losing team was subject to direct killing in the same field at the end of a special sacrificial site. If the local Bishop was "supportive", only the captain of the losing team was killed, by decapitation.
There were other, partially destroyed buildings in Chichen Itza:
Next day I went to Uxmal - a small town about an hour from Merida.
There were plenty of varans.
The main pyramid of Uxmal impressed me the most:
There's also an ancient field for ball games.
I was very impressed with the pyramids.