A NEW area of the Chichen Itza archaeological site is due to open to the public in 2022.
The area, called Chichen Viejo, is set deep in the jungle, approximately 900 metres from El Castillo, the largest structure of the ancient Mayan city, considered since 2007 on of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. It dates from around 325 and 550 AD.
The vegetation will be left in its natural state, the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) has said, as this helps to protect the constructions as well as preventing damage to the flora of the area.
Marco Antonio Santos, director of the Chichen Itza site, told the Mexican press that exploration work in the new area was halted in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic but it was due to be resumed this year in preparation it for its opening to the public next year.
Santos said that the aim was for people to see the Mayan palace in its original setting, as during lockdown, the jungle has regenerated and even seen the return of some autochthonous species.
Anyone who wants to visit the Chichen Viejo site will have to make a reservation because entrance will be limited.
Santos explained that Chichen Itza was an enormous city covering around 20km2 but that even with the opening of the new area only three per cent is open to the public.
In 2020, just 950,000 people visited the site, he said, compared to 2.5 million in 2019.
He also predicted that numbers will increase once the Maya Train railroad, which will have a station near Chichen Itza, is in operation.
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