Why the Mayan suddenly abandoned Chichén Itza?


This is the story told generation to generation, have a look at the Maya’s cosmovision and knowledge with this awesome short tale.

Reading time 3 mins

Here’s the story why the Maya left Chichén Itza...

Many years have passed and people still wonder, why the Maya suddenly abandoned their kingdom of Chichén Itza. There are a few versions about this, however, the locals kept their knowledge from generation to generation with a beautiful tale on Sac Nicté and the prince Canek.

Uxmal, Mayapan and Chichén Itza were 3 major neighbored kingdoms, each with its own powerful king, and they were excellent friends to one each other, and have lived peaceful lives for many years, they even though it would never end.

Hunacel was the king of Mayapan, his daughter’s name Sac Nicté or - white flower - she has been born on a Lunar Eclipse, and her kindness and beauty were broadly known around the area.

Princes from all over the reign travel to Mayapan to gift her and propose in marriage, but even if she wanted, she couldn’t, as from birth, her marriage has been agreed with Ulil, Warrior Prince from Uxmal.

Sac Nicté was locked in a golden cage, unhappy. Waiting each day until her marriage to Ulil, but secretly, she was madly in love with the brave and attractive Canek, the young king of the Chichén Itza Kingdom.

In a veil of secrecy, they’ve met before in the sacred city of Izamal, and from that moment, they fall in love.


Canek was invited to the royal wedding from both Mayapan and Uxmal, he couldn’t refuse to go, he’ll look bad, so even when his heart was shattered, he confirmed his assistance.

While Canek was silently in sorrow, a dark, mysterious, old dwarf came to him and said - “ she’s waiting for you, are you letting someone else take her away?” Canek took his time to reflect, and by when he turned to the dwarf to answer the question, the dwarf was gone. He kept thinking and sorrowing for days, finding a way to be with Sac Nicte.

In the meantime, in Uxmal the festivities had begun, all the city was filled with white flowers, it has never been this beautiful before. They believe the sacred union will bring abundance and reinforce the alliances in the greater Mayab, the kingdoms of Chichén Itza, Mayapan and Uxmal.

Thousands of people came from all across the reign with precious gifts, deer with gold antlers, exotic birds, books on the sky, stars and constellations, quetzal feathers, aromatic oils, earrings and full body adornments made of jade…

But Canek still hasn’t arrived, it's been days and that seemed odd to everyone...Sac Nicté had a burning flame of hope that he was on his way to rescue her.  


On the 3rd day the royal wedding began, and without greater notice, Canek showed up, with 70 of his finest warriors! took Sac Nicté, rose the arms and shouted “Itzalán, Itzalán! their war cry.

He was gone before they could react, no one could’ve stopped them. By the time Ulil’s forces were gathered, princess Sac-Nicté, The Itzáes warriors and Canek were long gone, they escaped using a secret underground passage with cenotes and passways that used to connect the cities of the Mayab reign.

Hours later after the successful rescue, they arrived back to Chichén, the young king smiled again, she was happy and they were finally together. The whole town waited for them to cherish the wedding of their beloved King and their new Queen. The ceremony took place at Kukulcan’s pyramid during the most beautiful afternoon the city ever lived.

Something terrible was already written. The kingdoms of Mayapan and Uxmal were marching to Chichén, humiliated by Canek, they decided to burn it to the ground.


Canek reunited his people and explained that peace times had came to an end, they took their stone carved idols and left south into the underground secret passages, this time the trip would be much longer.

By the time the warriors stept into Chichén Itza the city was empty, they burned everything down. The furious kings never found the Itzaes, Canek or Sac Nicte.

It’s said they settled and flourish in peace in Petén - in Guatemala - , it’s believed they founded the city kingdom of Tikal.

The end.

There you have it, a story never told, another way to look at cities like Chichén, Uxmal, Mayapan or as far to Tikal in Guatemala. Check out BEspoke Travel and learn how to create a trip around Mayan Culture with a twist.

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esteban belmares