This pyramid at Chichen Itza has always been an exotic thing with an aura of mystery. They are monuments around this area with eras of history associated with them. Their tantalizing architectural and engineering marvels attract tourists from all across the globe.
However, the tourists who have been visiting El Castillo Pyramid in Mexico have had a strange experience. They were taken aback by the peculiar chirp of birds and patter of raindrops inside the pyramid.
The Mayans engineered the acoustics of the Castillo pyramid at Chichen Itza to chirp like the Quetzal bird – but only when you are standing directly in line with the stairs.
The 32,400-square-foot pyramid features four stairways with 91 steps each, which, combined with the single step at its entrance, totals 365 stairs–the exact number of days in the Mayan calendar. The pyramid consists of a series of square terraces with stairways up each of the four sides to the temple on top. Sculptures of plumed serpents run down the sides of the northern balustrade.
Although the pyramid at Chichen Itza was constructed in 1100 AD, it was only in 1998 that acoustic engineer David Lubman first came across this bird-call effect. This sound frequently resembles the call of the sacred animal, the Mexican quetzal bird.
Lubman says, “When the Mesoamericans were first experimenting with building outdoor temples of every shape and size, the only ones that seemed to reward them with the gods’ approval were the temples with the long outdoor staircase. In those temples, a hand clap would be rewarded with the sound they would recognize as a messenger of the gods: the quetzal.”
This eerie sound has been under the microscope of many scientists who have been studying it closely. The Chichen Itza pyramid’s construction has a massive hand in why this sound occurs. The height and space of the pyramid’s staircase structure create something like an acoustic filter.
This filter exaggerates certain sounds while suppressing others. Echo also plays a part in this structure by influencing the mix of frequencies inside the pyramid. Many speculate that this acoustic quality of the limestone structure was used to the advantage of many performances like dance, speech, music, etc.
A proper conclusion can only be obtained once inscriptions can be found supporting this statement. It is a thing of beauty combined with mystery; one can only get the feeling when they visit the pyramid in Mexico.