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Mayan Ruins: Tikal, Guatemala

The Heart of the Mayan Civilization

The Maya

The “men of corn” settled in this majestic land over 13000 years ago. It is here that they came to raise their spirits to the stars, bathe in their light, understand their desires and influences. Here they settled to sculpt their stelae, documenting their history, and it is here they build their temples in honor of their Gods. In Guatemala, amongst the aroma of the orchids and bogambilias, in the midst of volcanoes, rivers, lakes, oceans, caves, cenotes, that they build more than tree thousand of such sites, practiced their rituals, bathed in vapor, and created a mass civilization.

Tikal's Main Attractions

Tikal is located 64 kilometers from Flores, the lovely capital of Petén perched up on island on Lake Petén Itza. This is your arrival point into the Peten region. Tikal, meaning 'place of the voices,' is one of the largest and most magnificent Mayan cities in existence. Its temples stretch towards the heavens beyond the highest jungle canopy, provide a mystical view of the areas rich fauna and flora, and a feel for the mysteries of this ancient culture. It was inhabited from 800 BC to 900 AD, only to be re-conquered by the tropical forest from the beginning of the eleventh century, to beginning of the twentieth century, when it became once again discovered, and at which time restoration began. The site occupies 575 square kilometers and was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 1979.

Silvanus B. Morley Museum

This museum is located within the Tikal National Park and exhibits pieces from the burial chamber of the Lords of Tikal. Within it is a reproduction of tomb 116 found in the Temple of the Great Jaguar. It contains stone stele as well as a valuable collection of ceramics and carved stone, jade, and bone sculptures.

The Grand Plaza

At the heart of Tikal National Archaeological Park, it is surrounded by impressive buildings such as Temples I and II, the North and Central Acropolis, as well as a large number of stele and altars that relate part of the dynastic history of the Maya civilization of Tikal.

Temple I

Also known as the Temple of the Grand Jaguar, it was constructed around the year 700. Its comb rises 45 meters above the Main Plaza. The building is constructed in the prevailing Maya style, which is in the form of a pyramid.

Temple II

Also known as the Temple of Masks. It closes the west end of the Grand Plaza and measures 38 meters in height. Governor Ah Cacao built it in the year 700.

North Acropolis

This is a religious building within the Tikal ceremonial complex. It is the most complete individual construction excavated in the Maya region to date.

Central Acropolis

This complex has small patios of varying height and long, low buildings known as palaces. The majority of the visible structures date from the Late Classical Period (550-900).

Temple III

This structure measures approximately 50 meters in height. It still has some of the original carved wood lintels; one of these describes a scene that gave it the name Temple of the Jaguar Priest, as it is also known. Built during the Late Classical Period, it measures 55 meters high.

Temple IV

The edifice measures 70 meters in height making it the highest structure in Tikal. It is also known as the Temple of the Two-headed Serpent. Governor Yaxkin Caan Chac constructed it around the year 741 AD. Visitors can climb to the base of the crest and enjoy a mesmerizing view of Tikal, its incredible fauna, and listen to a symphony of jungle animals.

Temple V

Located toward the south of the Central Acropolis, it measures 57 meters in height. At the top, Temple V offers one of the most spectacular sights of Tikal National Park. Recent excavations indicate that it was constructed between the year 550 and 650 AD.

Temple VI

It is also known as the Temple of the Inscriptions, its large crest measures 12 meters in height. The front, sides, and cornices are filled with glyphs. The inscriptions register the date 766.

Plaza of the Great Pyramid, or Lost World

One of the oldest monumental complexes within the city of Tikal, its constructive activity began in the Upper Pre classical Period. Its architecture, science, and arts developed between the 3rd century B.C.E. and the year 400. It measures about 35 meters in height and is a commemorative astrological complex.

Palace of the Windows

It is also known as the Palace of the Bats. It is formed by several structures located toward the western side of Temple III. The building for which the group is named has been partially restored and has a great number of interconnected rooms.

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Mayan Ruins: Tikal, Guatemala: The Heart of the Civilization . Please note: Information on this sheet is believed to be correct but not guaranteed


Mayan Ruins: Tikal, Guatemala

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