The Ossuary in Chichen Itza

The Ossuary in Chichen Itza

The Ossuary in Chichen Itza is also known as the Great Priest’s Tomb. This structure measures more than 10 meters high and it’s made up of nine staggered bodies very similar to the Kukuklan Pyramid, to such degree of resembling a replica, with the difference of having less height and a frieze covered with mythological reliefs decorated in its corners with the effigy of the god Chaac similar to the ones found in The Warriors and Venus Temple.

The Ossuary in Chichen Itza upper part
The Ossuary in Chichen Itza upper part

This structure is part of the group of buildings that with the Tomb Platform, the Sacbe Number 15 and the Xtoloc Cenote, repeat the architectural pattern found in the Kukulkan Pyramid, the Temple of Venus, the Sacbe Number 1 and the Sacred Cenote.

In the upper part of the Ossuary, between the first two carved serpents, there is an entrance lined with stone, which descends vertically to the base of the pyramid, beyond a set of stone stairs and entering 12 meters deep into a cave where seven tombs were discovered along with jade objects, copper bells, rock crystals and shells.

An interesting aspect of this structure, is that when going down to the tombs, there’s an entry through a natural tunnel that the natives participating in the first explorations assured measured more than 20 kilometers and that it goes into another nearby Mayan city, probably Yaxuná. According to tradition, this tunnel or cavern represents the gate between the world of the dead and paradise.

The Ossuary in Chichen Itza from the side
The Ossuary in Chichen Itza from the side

Location of the Ossuary in Chichen Itza

The Ossuary in Chichen Itza is part of the Central Group, and it’s the first big structure you’ll see when coming from the Kukulkán Pyramid. Right in front of it is a round platform, the Venus Platform, and then the Tomb Platform.

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