“Not only is the Mayan pyramid at Chichén Itzá one of the greatest surviving monuments of the Mayan civilisation, but it also captures the light in a unique way when it’s solstice or equinox time.
Not quite ruler of an empire, Chichén Itzá became, for a time, the pivot of the lowland Maya world. The Temple of Kukulkan (for the Feathered Serpent God, also known as Quetzalcoatl) is the largest and most important ceremonial structure at the site. This 90-foot-high pyramid is a storehouse of information on the Mayan calendar and is cleverly positioned to mark the solstices and equinoxes.
At sunset on both the vernal and autumnal equinoxes, an interplay between the sun’s light and the edges of the stepped terraces on the pyramid creates a fascinating – and very brief – shadow display upon the sides of the northern stairway. A serrated line of seven interlocking triangles gives the impression of a long tail leading downward to the stone head of the serpent Kukulkan, at the base of the stairway.”