Tikal Travel Blog› entry 13 of 19 › view all entries
Today we visit Tikal, the great Maya metropolis set in the midst of the rainforest, which can justly be compared with the celebrated ancient cities of Egypt and Greece. Initially settled in about 600BC, Tikal was abandoned by its rulers around 890AD and totally deserted a hundred years later.
The city covered an area of 16 square kilometres. Re- discovered in 1848, only a few of its great temples and pyramids have been excavated. The site is extensive, so we have a guided tour in the morning with the afternoon free to explore. The area has prolific birdlife in the surrounding rainforest and has amazing views of the forest canopy from the tops of the pyramids.
Tikal was once a wealthy metropolis of 100,000 inhabitants and the seat of power for the great Jaguar clan lords.
The ruins of Tikal include more than 3,000 structures extending over six square miles and including palaces, temples, ceremonial platforms, ball courts, terraces, plazas, avenues and steam baths. The ancient Maya began building Tikal around 600 B.C., and for the next 1500 years the area was an important religious, scientific, and political center.
Filmmaker George Lucas used Tikal as a setting in the first Star Wars movie,Episode IV A New Hope, released in 1977.