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Unlocking Chichén Viejo: Exploring the Ancient Mexico Revealed to the Public

By: April Carson

History enthusiasts, archaeology aficionados, and curious travelers have reason to rejoice as Chichén Viejo, the long-hidden gem within the world-renowned Chichén Itzá archaeological site, opened its doors to the public after a 25-year hiatus. This momentous event took place on a sunny Sunday, following a grand inauguration ceremony led by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Chichén Viejo, often referred to as "Old Chichén," has been shrouded in mystery and intrigue for decades as it underwent intensive archaeological research and painstaking restoration. In this blog, we will explore the significance of Chichén Viejo, its journey to reopening, and the insights provided by José Osorio León, director of Chichén Itzá.

The Enigmatic Chichén Viejo

Nestled in the heart of the Yucatán Peninsula, Chichén Itzá has long captivated the world with its breathtaking Maya architecture and rich historical significance. Among its many wonders, Chichén Viejo stands out as a hidden treasure within the site. This ancient section remained off-limits to the public for over two decades as dedicated archaeologists and experts worked tirelessly to unveil its secrets.

Chichén Viejo boasts an array of structures that offer a unique glimpse into the Maya civilization's architectural prowess and societal complexities. Among these structures, the most prominent is the Kukulkan Temple, an astonishing pyramid known for its precise alignment with the equinoxes, creating the famous "snake shadow" illusion that mesmerizes visitors during these special times of the year.

The Journey to Restoration

The decision to close Chichén Viejo to the public was made in the late 1990s to initiate a comprehensive research and restoration project. Over the years, a dedicated team of archaeologists, historians, and preservationists, led by José Osorio León, undertook the monumental task of uncovering, preserving, and restoring this ancient marvel.

José Osorio León, director of Chichén Itzá, spearheaded these efforts with a deep commitment to preserving the site's cultural heritage. He emphasized the importance of patience and meticulous attention to detail, stating, "Chichén Viejo is a treasure trove of Maya history, and we wanted to ensure that it was restored with the utmost care and authenticity. It's not just a place; it's a window into the past."

The restoration process involved a delicate balance between preserving the site's original features and ensuring visitor safety. Experts meticulously documented each structure, deciphered ancient inscriptions, and utilized cutting-edge technology to study the site's historical significance. The goal was not only to reopen Chichén Viejo but to provide an educational experience that would transport visitors back in time to the height of Maya civilization.

The Grand Reopening

The grand reopening of Chichén Viejo on a sunny Sunday was a momentous occasion that drew visitors from across the globe. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador emphasized the importance of preserving Mexico's cultural heritage, stating, "Chichén Viejo is a testament to the incredible achievements of the Maya civilization, and we are proud to share it with the world."

Visitors to Chichén Viejo can now explore the intricately restored structures, including the Kukulkan Temple and various plazas and buildings that offer a glimpse into daily life in ancient Maya society. Interactive exhibits and guided tours enhance the educational experience, providing insights into the architectural marvels and cultural practices of this remarkable civilization.

The reopening of Chichén Viejo is a testament to the enduring appeal of archaeological wonders and the dedication of experts like José Osorio León to preserving our shared human history. As visitors flock to this newly accessible section of Chichén Itzá, they not only bear witness to the architectural splendor of the Maya but also contribute to the ongoing legacy of cultural preservation.

Chichén Viejo is not just an archaeological site; it's a portal to the past, an opportunity to connect with the rich tapestry of human history, and a reminder that the past still has much to teach us about the present and the future.

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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

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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