By: April Carson
A unique and beautiful light effect can now be witnessed by visitors to Chichén Itzá at nighttime. The "lunar snake" phenomenon occurs when sunlight is cast upon the pyramid's steps, creating an optical illusion that looks like a wriggling snake descending the edifice. This natural phenomenon can only be seen during the spring and autumn equinoxes, and now visitors of Chichén Itzá have the opportunity to view this stunning effect at night.
Mexico's primary cultural tourism destination, Chichén Itzá, constantly updates its ways of exploring the ancient Meso-American culture and civilization. A notable and remarkable event that takes place at Chichén Itzá is the fascinating "snake of light." During the spring and fall equinox, an illusion of a snake slithering down the walls of the Pyramid of Kukulkan can be observed, which is caused by the reflection of sunlight.
Thanks to the technological advances made by the National Institute of Anthropology and History, which manages the archaeological zone, visitors can now witness this awe-inspiring effect of light at night. An array of lights has been set up along the sides of the pyramid which creates a mesmerizing show for all to enjoy.
Although the "snake of light" that appeared on the walls is widely known, there is another phenomenon called the "lunar snake" that has gained attention on social media. It appears at night, a few weeks after the snake of light, and is created by the moonlight above. The effect of this phenomenon is truly remarkable, giving visitors a show nowhere else in the world.
The Director of Chichén Itzá Archaeological Zone, Marco Antonio Santos Rodriguez, responded to the social media attention and stated that visitors would be able to witness this natural phenomenon during his tenure as the director. A new plan has been implemented by him and his team to allow visitors to the archaeological zone from 7 pm to 11 pm, allowing them to experience the spectacular view.
The lunar snake has received an unprecedented amount of interest after its appearance on social media, which proves that it is an experience not to be missed.
Santos Rodriguez suggests that although the carrying capacity of these areas has decreased, it may still be possible for tourists to visit if they make a reservation in advance.
According to Santos Rodriguez, there are several other development projects aimed at enhancing the tourist experience. He mentioned that they are currently in the final stages of reopening sunrise and sunset activities in Chichén Itzá. He believes that this will offer visitors a deeper insight into the prehispanic culture and way of life.
Santos Rodriguez aims to use the new activities to remind us that people inhabited the city both during the day and at night, despite most tourists only visiting during the day. He is also excited to share that they are introducing a new nocturnal route to discover more about the city's nightlife and its hidden secrets. The highlight of the tour is undoubtedly the “lunar snake” light effect, which can be seen at Quetzalcoatl Temple in all its glory after dark.
The Pyramid of Kukulkan
One of the famous structures in the ancient city is the Pyramid of Kukulkan, also known as the castle. It is almost 80 feet tall and overlooks the city. Although it is the site of the snake of light and lunar snake, it is still worth visiting even without the light shows.
It is a marvel of Mayan construction and its design reflects the knowledge and abilities of the ancient Maya. Visitors can climb to the top of the pyramid, which has gorgeous views over Chichén Itzá and its jungle environment.
The Ball Game Court
Tourists can walk on the path of ancient Mayan athletes at the ball game court in Chichén Itzá. The rules of the famous game are still unknown to historians, but they believe that players used their hips and thighs to move the ball through the court. Additionally, the court is known for its acoustic effect, which is another impressive achievement of Mayan architecture.
Chichén Itzá is a must-see for history and architecture buffs because of its unique features such as the court, which measures 225 by 545 feet. Additionally, the acoustics are so good that a whisper from one end of the court can be heard from the opposite side.
The Lunar Snake
The lunar snake is a visual occurrence where silver triangles, created by the reflection of moonlight on the Kukulkan Pyramid, move along with the moon to form the shape of a snake. This event has both astrological and archaeological significance as it represents the Mayan culture's belief in the duality of the sun and the moon.
Santos Ramirez states that the meaning of the snake of light's arrival at the spring solstice is still a topic of debate. This event is believed to fertilize Mayab, which translates to "land of the few and the privileged" in Mayan. This can be interpreted to represent a celebration of the start of new life or a symbol of spiritual awakening.
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April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav
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