The Temple of Kulkulkan

The Temple of Kulkulkan

The Temple of Kulkulkan is the centerpiece of the Mayan culture at Chichén Itza, Mexico. Kukulkan is the Maya name for Quetzalcoatl but the temple is also referred to as "El Castillo" (the castle).

This step pyramid has a ground plan of square terraces with stairways up each of the four sides to the temple on top. On the Spring and Autumn equinox, at the rising and setting of the sun, the corner of the structure casts a shadow in the shape of a plumed serpent - Kukulcan, or Quetzalcoatl - along the west side of the north staircase. On these two annual occasions, the shadows from the corner tiers slither down the northern side of the pyramid with the sun's movement to the serpent's head at the base.

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