Chichen Itza

Temple of Warriors

General Information

Image description

Located in the northern part of the city, northeast of El Castillo is the Temple of Warriors. Like El Castillo, the Temple of Warriors was constructed over an older temple. Today there are three thick tiers stacked on top of a thinner stone base with a temple on top.

There are some 200 squared columns at the base of the temple's main stairway. Each side of each column has a carved depiction of a Toltec warrior. These columns once were painted, and some of the pigment is still faintly visible today. There are also several rows of columns that fill the colonnades on the south of the temple, prompting the name Plaza of a Thousand Columns. The columns at one time supported what was believed to be a thatched roof.

A single, wide staircase climbs up the front face of the temple and at the top sits a Chac Mool. Behind Chac Mool are two carved pillars representing Kukulcan--serpent heads with their mouths open and their stone bodies and rattles shooting skyward to support the lintels that formed the entrance to what once was a covered structure. These twin carvings are typical of the Toltec influence on the Maya and almost identical designs of Kukulcan can be found at the portico to the upper temple of El Castillo and theUpper Temple of the Jaguar, overlooking the Great Ball Court.

The exterior wall of the Temple of Warriors is adorned with several stone carvings of Kukulkan emerging from the mouth of a serpent. The long hooked noses of the rain god Chaac are also plainly visible on the corners of this structure.

-- Chris Reeves