Chichen Itza was a major regional center in the northern Maya lowlands from the Late Classic through the Terminal Classic and into the early portion of the Early Postclassic period. The site exhibits a multitude of architectural styles, from what is called “Mexicanized” and reminiscent of styles seen in central Mexico to the Puuc style found among the Puuc Maya of the northern lowlands. The presence of central Mexican styles was once thought to have been representative of direct migration or even conquest from central Mexico, but most contemporary interpretations view the presence of these non-Maya styles more as the result of cultural diffusion. Though the Mayan culture suffered from its blood-thirsty reputation which gave the Spanish a sense of moral superiority, Chichen Itza is evidence of the very substantial accomplishments of Mayan Civilization in terms of art, architecture, mathematics, literature, and astronomy. This, too, was a culture that respected the Earth, which was regarded by the Mayans as something to be honored and not exploited.
Unfortunately, unprepared to recognize much of value in what they encountered in the New World, European conquerors did little or nothing to preserve what they found. If it could not be melted for gold, or attract a price as treasure and shipped back to Europe, then it was regarded as useless. The Spanish may not have been responsible for the decline of Chichen Itza but their record generally was one of indifference to Mayan cultural achievements, as it was towards those of the Incas and the Aztecs.