Tikal, one of the great Mayan Ruins

Tikal Travel Blog

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Complex Q, the restored pyramid

After our visit to the market of Chichicastenango, we prepared for an early flight to Flores, our gateway to Tikal. It was a quick airplane ride, it took us about half an hour to reach the city of  Flores, but from Flores to Tikal, its another 1 hour ride by car. We stayed in Tikal Inn, one of the hotels that is within the protected area of Tikal. The hotel gave us the warning that after 10 pm electricity would be turned off. There I knew that the place is being run by a generator.

The entry price for the park cost about 150 quitzales (20$), and i guess for locals cost about 25 quitzales($3.

Complex R, which was left alone.
50).  It was a misty mid afternoon when we arrived at the park, the place was very humid, i could not help but perspires. Our first stop was the twin complexes Q and R(it was a good thing that the temples or ruins in Tikal were given a simple name, easier to be remembered). Of the two pyramids here, one has been restored and one has been left as it was found (the latter will give you an idea of just how overgrown and ensconced in the jungle these structured had become).

Here in Tikal  are a numbers of pyramids that are just being left and engulfed by nature. As our tour guide has explained, it takes a while for this ruins to be excavated. First of all, the ruins is covered with the rich soil of Tikal and has grown a good numbers of  trees and i guess the forest itself is one of the 4th largest producer of oxygen in the world, and so it's not only uncovering the ruins that is important but maintaining a balance ecosystem itself.

the view from Temple IV, looking at temple I and II, and the great pyramid
Secondly, the expense of excavation, the goverment of Guatemala has a lot of things to shoulder besides uncovering the Tikal ruins.

Anyways,our next stop, Temple IV, the tallest structure in Tikal which is about 212 feet from the base of its platform to the top. The first glimpse you get of the temple from the maudslay causeway is awesome, for the temple has not been restored and all but the temple proper and its roof are covered with foliage. The stairway is covered in earth and roots, but you can get to the top of the temple using a system of roughly made wood ladders set against the steepside of the pyramids. From the top of the temple IV you would be able to view Temple 1( temple of the great Jaguar) and Temple II. Well temple IV got hit by lightnings two years ago, and so the archaelogist responded, and had stabilized the place.

Temple I (Temple of the Great Jaguar)
Right now, steel bars are on top of temple IV.

Entering the Great Plaza from the Tozzer Causeway, you'll be struck by the towering stone structure that is Temple II, seen from the back. Also called the Temple of the Masks because of a large face carved in the roof comb, the template dates back from about A.D. 700. Temple II, has a steep staircase on the side, and so you could easily go on top. The view on top is very awesome, looking at Temple I and the Acropolis.Directly across from Temple II you'll see TEmple I (Temple of the Great Jaguar), the most strikin structure in Tikal. One of the lintels has been removed for preservation in Guatemala City. The whole structure is made of limestone, as are most others at Tikal.  The credits for excavating this area should be given to the archaelogists of University of Pennsylvania.

Temple II, Temple of the Masks
They also uncovered the  tomb of the Great Mayan Leader. This tour took about 5 hours of our tim, and so we needed to see more ruins the next day or later this afternoon. It is said that it would be an amazing experience to  view the sunrise or sunset here in Tikal.

Anyways, late that afternoon, it started raining heavily, and so our chance of witnessing the sunset would be very dimmed. So we just decided to visit the Tikal Museum (with no photography allowed) so i  started reading whatever details  in the pictures and artifacts. There were two important items that were stolen in this museum  dating back in 1981,two jaded carvings, that up to this time remained lost or stolen.

As soon as the rain stopped, we headed back to the hotel.As the night gets darker or reached 10 pm, the electricity was turned off.  You'll be hearing all the animals and insect making different kinds noise. It was a complete darkness and my first experience for a hotel with no electricity.

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Complex Q, the restored pyramid
Complex Q, the restored pyramid
Complex R, which was left alone.
Complex R, which was left alone.
the view from Temple IV, looking a…
the view from Temple IV, looking …
Temple I (Temple of the Great Jagu…
Temple I (Temple of the Great Jag…
Temple II, Temple of the Masks
Temple II, Temple of the Masks
The great plaza
The great plaza
Tikal
photo by: Biedjee