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The third structure inside the pyramid of Chichen Itza

The Mayan temple of Kukulkán is like a Matryoshka doll: a third structure is hidden inside it. The second inner shell had been discovered in the 1930s.

The third structure inside the pyramid of Chichen Itza
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One pyramid inside another, and then another: the temple of Kukulkan, in the archaeological site of Chichen Itza (in the Yucatan peninsula) hid a third pyramid inside the first two. It's like a Matryoshka doll!

The pre-Columbian pyramid, 30 meters high, actually hid inside a second pyramid, 20 meters high; inside the latter there is a further 10-metre pyramid.

The temple honoring Kukulkán, the feathered serpent god, was built as a system of Russian dolls, presumably in three phases: the latest discovered smaller and innermost pyramid between 550 and 800; the intermediate one, between 800 and 1000; the external one between 1050 and 1300.

The third structure inside the pyramid of Chichen Itza
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“El Castillo” (as the site is nicknamed) would therefore have been built in different phases. The reasons could be the most disparate, such as the deterioration of the previous ones or the change of political leadership.

The second pyramid was identified after 1931, while the third, smaller and not perfectly centered compared to the others, was discovered in 2017 thanks to a non-invasive scanning technique of the structures.

Furthermore in 2016 was discovered that the Kukulkán temple is built on top of a cenote, which is a natural sinkhole filled with fresh water.

It is unclear whether the Maya knew of the well's presence, but the fact that the pyramids were built directly above it, and that Kukulkán was also associated with water in pre-Columbian mythology, suggests that the location may have been chosen on purpose.

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