National Geographic : 1925 Jan
CHICHEN ITZA, AN ANCIENT AMERICAN MECCA .1k I^ Photograph from the Carnegie Institution THE NORTH TEMPLE OF THE TLACIITLI FIELD This structure is composed of a single chamber, the front supported by two round columns, which, with the three interior walls, are entirely covered with elaborate sculptures portraying lines of marching warriors. The upper part of the back wall slopes forward and acts as a sounding-board, throwing out across the court sounds made in front of it at a position between the two columns. The Tlachtli court constitutes a splendid open-air auditorium capable of accommodating 5,000 people, and upon the occasion of the opening of the state highway from Dzitas, the nearest railroad point to Chichen Itza, in 1923, beautiful native dances in costume were staged here. Red Man." Perhaps he fell fighting bravely, as his name might imply, in the defense of his capital. Concerning the fate of the city itself, however, archeol ogy leaves us in little doubt. From this time onward until its final abandonment, in 1448, Chichen Itza was held in thrall by foreign rulers, the Toltec-Aztec allies of Hunnac Ceel. This foreign influence from the distant Vale of Anahuac gave to the city not only new rulers, but also new customs, new esthetic inspirations, a new architecture, even a new religion, all of which reacted powerfully upon the Itza people and raised their capital to a position of honor and sanctity never enjoyed by it or any other Mayan city before or since.