Home to numerous volcanoes, rainforests, and ancient Mayan sites, Guatemala is amongst the highly overlooked getaway destinations in the Americas. Only someone who has been to this Motherland of Chocolate (yes, really) can tell you what a riveting experience awaits here. Amidst all the tourist destinations in Guatemala, the Tikal Mayan Ruins have earned an iconic place. It astonishes both tourists and locals alike. Here are some Facts about the Tikal Mayan Ruins.
Here are a few facts about the Tikal Mayan Ruins that might get you intrigued about the place.
1. Tikal had a small start
Like many other Mayan habitats, Tikal started as a small village between 900-300 BC. However, in the next centuries, it became an important cultural center. Gradually it became an important part of the giant trading network established in the region.
2. Tikal was the Mayan Capital City
Tikal was the heart of the Mayank Empire. This was the powerhouse from where most of the Mesoamerica (historical region extending between Mexico and Central America) was ruled. Archeological evidence suggests that there were a sports stadium, hospital, school and a massive library at Tikal over 1500 years ago. Though it is estimated the library was home to thousands of books, only four Mayan books have survived.
3. A very old Agricultural Hub
Traces of early farming have been found at the place. Some tools go back to 1000 BC. Inside a sealed burial chamber, researchers found a collection of Mayan Pottery and Ceramic Wares dating back to 700 BC.
4. The Underground World
Just like the rest of the Major Mayan sites, Tikal also houses many underground buildings. There are many mounds here that conceal what could be sites for many great temples and important places. These places, just like many others, remain only fractionally unearthed.
5. An Archeological Masterpiece
The massive structures at Tikal are built from Limestone. There are remains of Palaces, Residences, Administrative Buildings, Monuments, etc. here. Other important places like Temples and Pyramids are many in number.
Visitors can climb one of the tallest of these temples, The Temple of the Two-Headed Snake (70ft), to get a breathtaking panoramic view of the rainforest.
6. A UNESCO World Heritage Site
Tikal is the first place to be named as a Human Heritage site. This owes largely to its archaeological and ecological significance. It was declared as a World Heritage Site in the year 1979. The agency highlighted it as a site of ‘Outstanding Universal Value’.
7. Mysterious Demise of a Great City
Standing proud for over a thousand years, around 900 AD, the city was facing a sharp decline. In much of the Mayan Empire, rapid development gave rise to endless warfare followed by complete destruction.
Historians believe that overpopulation gave rise to food shortage. As a result, residents chose to abandon the city rather than starve. However, scholars argue that a large settlement like this can not suddenly face such a grave food shortage like that. Most debates acknowledge droughts and deforestation as considerable factors though.
What really happened to this one bustling city all of a sudden? The world may never know!