Land of the Maya

Chicanná translates from Maya as "House of the Mouth of the Serpent". It is not a large Maya site, but is well worth the visit. It's close to the road and very flat. Chicanná is not as old as Becán. It was inhabited from 100 BC to around AD 1100. Chicanná contains some of the best-decorated buildings in the region. It certainly possesses the best-preserved monster mask door-way, and the interesting Structure XX is well worth a look.

Structure XX at Chicanná is architecturally the most interesting at the site. It is a two-story, finely decorated temple. An intricately carved doorway gives access to a sort of lobby area from which several downstairs rooms can be obtained. At the back, a staircase goes up and splits, leading to two separate upper chambers. The upper portion of the temple is decorated with a monster mask.

Structure XI is in a less than adequate condition. It may be one of the oldest in the whole Rio Bec region. Two decorated, but damaged front walls stand on either side of a doorway giving access to a series of ruined rooms.

Structure II is what many consider to be the highlight of the visit to Chicanná It is an exceptionally preserved one-storey. The beautifully carved monster mask surrounding the central doorway is certainly the best preserved of its kind anywhere. Two eyes glare down above the entrance - the serpent's mouth - and fangs hang down from the lintel. The monster in question is Itzmaná the central god of the Maya pantheon.