Chichen Itza was a large Mayan city established in the fifth century BC in the central Yucatan. From its very beginning, Chichen Itza was a very important religious center. This is evidenced by the many large temples, elaborate burials, and many pyramids found at the site. The Temple of Kukulkan, also know as El Castillo, is the largest known monument to the feathered-serpent god of the Maya. Historians and archaeologists assume that this site was one of the most significant places of worship for this important deity. The largest known pok-a-tok ball court in Mesoamerica is also at Chichen Itza. This sport held a large religious significance for the Maya and is a further testament to the city's role as a religious center.
Chichen Itza was also an important trading center for the Maya. The Maya engaged in extensive trading around the Yucatan Peninsula, and Chichen Itza was a major hub. Artifacts from all over the region and far beyond have been excavated at the site. It is possible that market days were scheduled to coincide with religious festivals to maximize the number of merchants and pilgrims in the city at a given time.
It is likely that at its height, Chichen Itza was the administrative capital for the region. Many roads connect Chichen Itza to smaller outlying settlements that likely paid tribute to the city's leaders. From Chichen Itza, local rulers likely held sway over the entire region. The city's role as a religious center also probably helped bolster its political influence, as Mayan religion and politics were closely intertwined.