Overview of Mayan Ruins
The Mayan ruins are the living testimony of one of the ancient world's most advanced civilizations. The Maya inhabited Mesoamerica between 700 BCE to 900 CE and their magnificent constructions have an appealing history behind them. The Maya were outstanding astrologers, agronomists, mathematicians, developed an incredible writing system (Mayan hieroglyphs) and one of their biggest attainments was their architecture. The remaining iconic pyramids had at one point sustained a population of some millions of people.
Their distinctive architecture varied in different regions of Mesoamerica because they lived in independent city-states, though a general style prevails in all constructions. Thanks to their impressive knowledge of mathematics and astronomy, they aligned all their temples and pyramids with the solar equinox. The Maya were stargazers with amazing ambitions. Find the mayor concentration of their architectonic marvels in Guatemala's thick tropical jungle, the Crib of the Mayan World.
Living in the jungle, the Maya were surrounded by aqueducts, temples, pyramids, palaces, stelae, roads and ball courts. Most of the Mayan territories used a calcified rock called limestone, a strong stone that allow them to build these masterpieces that are still standing centuries after their assembly. Remaining’s of these constructions are spread throughout all Mesoamerica. One of the most important archaeological complexes left by the Maya is Tikal, located in the heart of Peten's dense jungle in Guatemala. The enduring mystique of this civilization lives their ruins and our country hosts several of them. Come and discover the artistic achievements the Maya accomplished during their existence!
Mayan Cities and Temples in Guatemala
Tikal National Park is among the world's travel wonders. You will find around 3,000 structures surrounded by a lush vegetation. Declared an UNESCO World Heritage, is one of the few places that inscribed both natural and cultural importance. A powerful city that hosts majestic prototypes of local architecture.
The biggest masterpiece left by the Maya! La Danta is even bigger than the pyramids in Egypt with a height of 72m/237ft making it one of the largest on Earth. To reach this architectonic marvel you will go on a five-day trek deep inside the jungle. A unique experience that you will remember for the rest of your life.
An elite residential city flourished in the region of Peten during the Classic Period. Aguateca's ruins are considered to be the best preserved in the country. A perfect combination of waterways, natural beauty and archaeological interest awaits for you in the middle of Peten's jungle.
A very important archaeological site discovered in 1840. Quirigua was a trading center connected with Copan, in Honduras. It stands out because of its enormous stelae; here you will see the longest hieroglyphic texts found at any Mayan site. Also an UNESCO World Heritage, Quirigua is the perfect place to admire the fineness of the Mayan artwork in their unique stone creations.
Another UNESCO World Heritage, Copan in Honduras is known for its beautiful stone temples and hieroglyphs, considered the most artistic city of the Mayan civilization. It worked together with Quirigua and their histories and strongly intertwined. The complete background of Copan is written in hieroglyphics in one of the biggest stelae of the Mayan times.
Located in the pacific region of Guatemala, Tak'Alik Ab'Aj is a unique archaeological site that combines the Maya and Olmec cultures in one place. Unlike the other Mayan cities, Tak'Alik Ab'Aj contains mostly figures of faces, a very strong influence from the Olmec civilization.
Located in the western Highland of Guatemala, Huehuetenango, Zaculeu was the capital of the Mam kingdom, Mayan gentry. The site was restored in 1946 with the same material originally used, making it a perfect simulation of its appearance back in the days. Zaculeu has a big influence of Mexico in the design of its temples. It is believed that a foreign Mexican settle at the city since is very close to the neighbor country.
The pyramids built by the Maya were devoted to their gods, each of one hosting a shrine on its peak to make rituals and sacrifices. Their advances were strong and today they represent a big influence in the development of the world. This intellectually advanced civilization left an incredible imprint, and Guatemala gives you the opportunity to travel back in time and visit several of the legendary sites among short distances.