Overview of Guatemalan Culture
One of the most important ancient civilizations inhabited in the Americas around 1000 BCE. Covering southeast Mexico, entire Guatemala and Belize and western portions of Honduras and El Salvador, the Maya was an outstanding civilization that left unique roots in this part of the world. Even though the population number is uncertain, it is known as one of the densest civilizations in human history because of the vast region they covered.
Thanks to its magnificent architecture and materials used in their structures, today we can appreciate impressive Mayan ruins, temples and stalae that had survived the passing of time. Hidden in the middle of the jungle, Mayan ruins are a mystery of ongoing discovery and eternal growth. Being one of the most dominant indigenous societies of Mesoamerica, the Maya stand out because of their complex writing system, extraordinary architecture, astonishing mathematics and highly sophisticated calendar and astronomical systems.
The Mayan society was firmly divided; they all shared a similar ideology and traditions but were never united as a single empire. Divided by nobles, commoners and slaves, this civilization was extremely powerful. They achieved impressive breakthroughs that are nowadays influential factors in the development of the world's society. They were spread through a large area, therefore counted with over 30 different languages and dialects. These are known to originate from the mother language called Protomaya, spoken around 5,000 years ago. Today 40% of the Guatemalan population is descendant from this outstanding civilization. Our country nowadays treasures a total of 22 of their longstanding languages.
Weaving is one of the outstanding Maya craft, an ancient art that has survived uninterrupted for centuries and is now becoming famous all over the world. The Maya also make baskets, pottery and wood carved of animals, saints and brightly-painted toys and chests. Chichicastenango hosts the traditional handicrafts market every Thursday and Sunday. A more typical Mayan market can be experienced every Saturday in Solola on the way to Lake Atitlan and in the villages around the lake.
Guatemala is known to be the Heart of the Mayan World because of the unique mysticism and traditions their people still carry from their ancestors. A unique country that invites you to travel back in time and create unforgettable memories, Guatemala never fails to impress visitors!