Tikal, Guatemala

Tikal Travel Blog

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Tikal

Tikal is one of the largest and most beautiful archaeological sites and urban centers of the Maya civilization. It is located in the archaeological region of Petén. It is off course one of the highlights of Guatemala. Tikal was one of the major cultural and population centers of the Maya civilization. It also is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The ruins lie in lowland rainforest.

The name Tikal, 'place of the voices' in Itza Maya, is not the ancient name for the site but rather the name adopted shortly after its discovery in the 1840s. Hieroglyphic inscriptions at the ruins refer to the central area of the ancient city as Yax Mutal. The kingdom as a whole was simply called Mutal.

Tikal
As the largest of the Classic Maya cities, Tikal had no water other than what was collected from rainwater and stored in underground storage facilities. Archaeologists working in Tikal during the last century used the ancient underground facilities to store water for their own. The absence of springs, rivers, and lakes in the area of Tikal highlights did not stop the maya for building a major city with only supplies of stored seasonal rainfall. Tikal prospered with intensive agricultural techniques, which were very advanced. The reliance on seasonal rainfall left Tikal vulnerable for water, which is now thought to play a major role in the Classic Maya Collapse.

There are thousands of ancient structures at Tikal and only a fraction of these have been excavated after decades of archeaological work. The most prominent surviving buildings include six very large step pyramids, labeled Temples I - VI, each of which support a temple structure on their summits. Some of these pyramids are over 60 meters high. They were numbered sequentially during the early survey of the site. Temple I and II facing each other in the Plaza Mayor. Trees at the Tikal park include gigantic ceiba the sacred tree of the Maya; tropical cedar, and mahony. Regarding the fauna, monkeys, eagles, falcons, turkeys, guans, toucans, parrots and spiders.

For centuries this city was completely covered under jungle. It really has a special admosphere when you visit it. My advice: take some hours to walk through this area.

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photo by: Biedjee