Yucatan 2004

Chichen Itza
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The Nunnery

   The Nunnery (mistakenly named by the Spaniards), in the southern group of ruins, contains some of the best preserved structures at Chichén Itzá.  They appear to be the living quarters of the elite Mayans.  Every square foot of wall has reliefs and paintings decorating it.  The architecture strongly resembles Uxmal and Ruta Puuc. 

   The elaborately ornamented structure and subsidiary buildings are executed in the Mayan Chenes style, virtually every inch of the façades being decorated with symbols of the Mayan Rain god Chaac. The so-called "Church" ("Iglesia") is a particularly fine example of Puuc architecture, an early style in which the façades are decorated with geometric patterns and animals as well as Chaac masks. A crab, an armadillo, a snail and a tortoise, the creatures which in Mayan mythology support the heavens, can be seen between the masks.

Looking at the Nunnery Annex (left) and

These two photos are both of the same structures.  The top one shows the carvings better, but in the bottom photo you can see that there is another building (actually the Nunnery) behind the building on the left (the Nunnery Annex) 

Nunnary and "pyramid"
On the right, this pyramid-shaped structure is the Nunnery.  This is the building just barely visible at the top of the picture above. The Nunnery buildings are riddled with small, narrow, usually vaulted passageways
The Annex of the Nunnery
Click on the photo to see the details of the carvings.   There are Chaac masks, and a Mayan king above the door.
Quadrangle Small building
A different view of the square,
looking at the "church"
Another building on the square
El Caracol through Arch Vaulted passage
A vaulted passageway leading from the Nunnary to El Caracol - viewed from both sides

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