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Ball Courts

Chichen Itza, Chichen Itza 97751, Mexico
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Ranked #9 of 14 Attractions in Chichen Itza
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Type: Ancient Ruins
Activities: Group tours/bus tour
Owner description: The ancient Mayans used these courts for sporting competitions with often grisly consequences: the captain of the winning team would sometimes be... more » Owner description: The ancient Mayans used these courts for sporting competitions with often grisly consequences: the captain of the winning team would sometimes be sacrificed after a game. « less
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Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
11 attraction reviews
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2014

This is within the Chichen Itza grounds - from what our Tour Guide informed us, the game only happened every 52 years, and lasted for 5 days. The First team to get the fiery ball into the ring, wins - and then the winning Captain is beheaded!!!

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Boca Raton, Florida
Top Contributor
220 reviews 220 reviews
108 attraction reviews
151 helpful votes 151 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 29, 2014

These ballcourts were ubiquitous throughout Mesoamerica, and even up to the American Southwest. For the Mayans here at Chichén Itzá, the ballgames had religious significance. And they weren't played for fun. Someone got sacrificed as a result of a ballgame, as suggested by the decapitated figure at the great ballcourt here. Players were well padded, especially around the hips and... More

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Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
7 attraction reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2014

This is perhaps the biggest preserved ball court in Mesoamerica. In terms of the game itself, there were 2 teams. The goals were circle-shaped, and around 20 ft up the wall (pretty high!) As a history enthusiast, I found it amazing that Mayan civilization developed such a SOPHISTICATED game. If you go, be sure to look at the carvings at... More

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Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
16 attraction reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 14, 2014

On the ball court you can see how the mayan played a game that was a bit like modern football and basketball combind. In this game the point was to get a ball through a ring, several meters above the ground and you had to use your hip! Very impressing

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Phoenix, Arizona
Top Contributor
271 reviews 271 reviews
164 attraction reviews
188 helpful votes 188 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2014

The ball court at Chichen Itza is quite impressive. When you see the goals 21 feet up sticking out from a flat wall, you wonder how long these games were played (sometimes days!) even though it was won with the first score. Even more surprising is that the winning team's captain was beheaded in sacrifice which was looked at as... More

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Leeds, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
11 attraction reviews
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 10, 2014

Visited this in June this year. It's a must go if you are into history or architecture. Very, very interesting place.

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Colchester, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
30 attraction reviews
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 19, 2014

The fantastic show at Xcaret gives a clear impression of how this and other ball courts at othe Mayan ruins were used. Go early to avoid the crowds, our guide gave our small group a great insight into how the court was used. Have a good look at the amazing carvings round the sides of the court

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Grand Rapids, Michigan
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
10 attraction reviews
54 helpful votes 54 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2014

Largest ball court and it is impressive! You will not be disappointed if you are into the sports aspect of the Ancient Maya. I remember looking up and at the hoops of the grand ball court and asking the guide how many points they played to in order to win the game. He told me in a matter of fact... More

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NJ
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
18 attraction reviews
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2014

huge area. The game sounds impossible. The carvings really indicate that there was a lot more to it than just a "game". Probably more like a formalize warfare with deadly consequences. But who knows????

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Eugene, OR
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
7 attraction reviews
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 8, 2014

Our guide explained to us that when two people, standing on opposite ends of the ball court could hold a conversation without having to yell. Each end has a raised "temple" area. A whisper from one end can be heard clearly at the other end 500 feet away and through the length and breath of the court. The sound waves... More

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