Akab Dzib

Chichen Itza - Akab Dzib

espite its simplicity and lack of ornamentation, Akab D'zib -"The House of Mysterious Writing"--is one of the least understood and most intriguing of the buildings at Chichén Itzá. An earlier name of the building, according to a translation of glyphs in the Casa Colorada, is Wa(k)wak Puh Ak Na, "the flat house with the excessive number of chambers,” and it was the home of the administrator of Chichén Itzá, kokom Yahawal Cho' K’ak’.

Unlike many other buildings within the archaeological zone, Akab D'zib is built on ground level. It is relatively short, only 6 meters high. It is 50 meters in length and 15 meters wide. The long western-facing facade has seven doorways. The eastern facade has only four doorways, broken by a large staircase that leads to the roof. This apparently was the front of the structure, but it looks out over what is today a steep, but dry, cenote.

One of its great mysteries is the southern end of the building which has an entrance. The door opens into a small chamber. On the opposite wall is another doorway, above which, on the lintel, are intricately carved glyphs.

These glyphs have yet to be translated. Under the lintel in the door jamb is another carved panel, showing a seated figure surrounded by more glyphs. Local legend has it that this building belongs to the aluxes, mischievous Mayan fairies, which could be compared to the leprechauns of Ireland. At midnight, the story goes, these glyphs begin to glow.