There is much to say about the last of the Seven New Wonders that I have visited, particularly its extended causeway system. I have only been there once (the summer of 1997), although I have frequently been to the nearby town of Valladolid where we usually get our supplies and get contact with the world through internet (although we nowadays have a very slow internet connection at the village of Saban) .
I will just briefly discuss various buildings at the site.
El Castillo (the castle in Spanish) is also known as the temple of Kukulkan. This 30 m high structure has four steep staircases with 91 steps each and one step for all four, a total of 365 steps. There are nine platform levels. All these numbers are of course subject to a lot of mumbo jumbo among new-age people but it, of course, relate to more down-to-earth cosmology. As is common in the Maya area there is an older temple buried within.
The Great Ballcourt, here seen from the top of the Castillo, has enormous proportions compared to other known ballcourts (166 x 68 m). It is twenty times larger than the second largest known ballcourt. The walls are 12 m high and the ballcourt rings are located much higher than at other sites which make it questionable that it functioned as a real ballcourt. There are 12 other ballcourts at Chichen Itza and since they number 13 in total, and this once again relates to Maya cosmology (the moon orbits the Earth 13 times in a year, not 12 as one might think).
Temple of the Warriors close to the Castillo has a forest of carved pillars.
In the older part of Chichen Itza we find the Caracol (snail in Spanish). It is also called the Observatory and is believed to have been used in naked-eye observations of Venus.
I do not think Chichen Itza should be on the list of the New Seven Wonders of the World for three reasons. First, it is a whole site rather than an individual building. The ancient list only contained single buildings. Therefore, the buildings are from different time periods spanning a couple of centuries.
Second, let us say we still include whole sites on the list, this site is not the most impressive wonder of Maya sites. If you go for artistic decoration, Palenque or Copan would be better options. For architectural wonders, Palenque has buildings that were more difficult to construct since the corbelled vaults of the major buildings spanned greater volumes of space than at any other Maya building. The temple of the inscriptions at Palenque also has the famous subterranean passage to Janaab Pakal’s tomb, in itself quite an unusual construction in Mesoamerica. If we take simple architectural volume or the massiveness of buildings as a measure then Chichen Itza is a dwarf compared to Tikal, Calakmul and El Mirador.
Third, if we should single out one building it is hard to see which one at Chichen Itza should stand out compared to other Maya sites. As mentioned there are larger and more complex pyramids elsewhere and the ballcourt stands out in size but it is not an architectural wonder.
I will add one more post where I present buildings I think should have been on the list instead of Chichen Itza, Macchu Picchu, the Christ statue and the Great Wall of China. I just have to think about it for a while. One building is clearly missing and that is Angkor Wat or the Bayon temple at Angkor (I have to decide which one I should choose). The Potala palace in Lhasa is another favorite, but it spans centuries as well. I will be completely subjective and add buildings I have seen myself. The only criterion is that they are from pre-industrial times.