Tikal, Guatemala Facts
Guatemala might not be the most well-known country among travelers. But if you talk to someone and mention the words “Tikal Mayan Ruins“, chances are that people will instantly recognize it. That is because of its historical importance and the fact that it is one of the largest known Mayan cities.
That is why the beautiful Tikal Mayan City, is one of Guatemala’s most important Touristic destinations and a place very close to my heart. This is where my husband and I met. After that, we have come back many times with our sons.
It’s such an interesting place filled with history, so I decided to share some of the Tikal facts that amaze me the most about this ancient place.
Top 12 Facts About Tikal in Guatemala
1. It was the first place in Guatemala to be declared a Human Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979 for two things. Its archaeological and ecological value.
2. The forest that surrounds Tikal and once covered it is extremely important to preserve. It is known to be one of the last few lungs of the world.
3. Tikal is also known for being the largest city of the Mayan Classic Period. At one point, it was considered a political and social center of the whole Mayan empire.
4. We all know it as Tikal or Tikal National Park but what its name really means is “Lugar de Las Voces” (the place of voices).
5. It was used as the scenario for one of the Star Wars movies and used as a model for one of Mel Gibson’s movies: Apocalypto.
6. Its population is estimated to have been of around 50,000 inhabitants and 90,000 at its highest point making it one of the biggest cities of its time.
7. Its highest building is the one that was called by archaeologists: Temple IV. Its actual name is Temple of the Two-Headed Snake and is 70 mt. high. You can climb all the way to the top and enjoy the best views of the whole place.
9. For an additional fee, you can camp within the park or to get into the park at 4 am and climb the highest pyramid to have a VIP seat for the sunrise above the forest.
10. By the time that the Spaniards came to the region, Tikal had already been abandoned. Some theories said that after over a thousand years of existence, the city collapsed due to overpopulation. The resources in the jungle were no longer enough.
11. The Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes is said to have passed within a few kilometers of the ruins of Tikal in 1525. However the forest had already taken over the huge pyramids, so he never saw them as anything other than hills.
12. Hidden under the rain forest is the remains of what used to be a highway that communicated the neighboring cities of Peten. They are huge cobblestone roads that go for miles.
Do you know of any other Facts About Tikal? I’d love to keep adding to this list.