Tikal is one of the most important touristic places in Guatemala. The city is located in Tikal National Park on the north of the country. And there are ancient Mayan constructions in Tikal. The city is hidden in the tropical forests and it was the heart of Maya Civilization. According to archaeologists, Tikal was the capital of the area where the strongest kings of ancient Maya reigned.
Indigenous people living there was aware of the existence of Tikal thanks to the stories and legends told for centuries. It was hard to reach the area for travelers, because the region was far and the forest was befogged. John Lloyd, who reached the area in 1840s, was one of the first visitors of the ancient city. The first archaeological research team got Tikal in 1880s. But archaeological studies had proceeded slowly until the airport was built in 1950s. Then University of Pennsylvania started a Project in Tikal in 1955. The team stayed until Government of Guatemala began research in 1969.
Mayas lived in the region for more than 1500 years. They used to have a developed state structure. Tikal people also used to have writing system, mathematical information, and a complex calender. They constructed the biggest pyramid temples without using metal tools, pack animals, and wheeled vehicles. There are sixteen temples. The temples were up to 70 meters height and they were made of limestone. They also built small pyramids, houses, mansions, administration buildings, stone statues.
Tikal was a small village between the years 900 and 300 BC. Then, it came into prominence and became a big political, military, religious center. It was one of the Mayan ceremony centers and the civilization reached to peak especially between 400 and 800 AC. The city was decorated with gorgeous buildings.
Archaeologists and researchers don’t know how Mayan people founded the city of three thousand buildings on this inconvenient field with lakes and marshes. I have written about Aztecs and Incas before, if you want to read about other old American indigenous people. Thank you for reading.