Monday, October 22, 2012

Tikal - the capital city of a Mayan kingdom

The Mayan city of Tikal was once the capital city of a Mayan kingdom and a major city of the New World. The site was occupied from ~200-900 AD. Thanks to the almost perfect preservation of the city much is known about the grandeur of Tikal at its height, as well as the powerful kings who ruled there. While the site is sometimes – like other New World ruins – listed as ‘mysteriously’ abandoned, research is showing that the land could not support the large number of people congregating in the city. Abandonment occurred over a number of years and the city was left for the jungles to grow over. It seems, however, that some locals knew of its existence during those years, for rumors of a lost city in the area persisted. The first organized expedition found the city in 1848. What they found was one of the largest surviving New World archaeological sites. There are pyramids up to 70m high, royal palaces, monumental stele and a playing arena for the Mayan ball game.


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