The Tikal National Park is one of the most extensive Maya archaeological sites in the world. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979.
The park is located in the Petén Basin archaeological region. This is at northern Guatemala.
What to See
There are several structures in the area, and many are still being unearthed. Some of the best known are the six buildings known as Temples I to VI. Other structures in the area include Temple 33, a funerary temple, and Structure 34. This is a pyramid with a three chambered shrine.
Structure 5D-43 is one of the more unusual temples in the place, owing to its radial shape. Also noteworthy is Structure 5C-49, built in a Teotihuacan manner. The Tikal National Park also has Structure 5C-53, a platform built in the Teotihuacan
Group 6C-16 refers to a group of residential complex. Some of the excavated artifacts include buildings, relief sculptures, ballplayer murals and stucco masks. Between the Central Acropolis and Temple I is the Great Plaza Ballcourt. At the west of Temple II is the Bat Palace.
Remains of agricultural activities have been found dating to 1000 BC. Some Mamon ceramics c. 700-400 BC have been unearthed as well. By the 400–300 BC, building of the place had already commenced. This included the construction of pyramids.
However, the place was still smaller compared to its neighboring cities. Based on available evidence, leadership in the city is dynastic. The first dynasty was established by Yax-Moch-Xoc sometime in the 3rd century AD. By the
Early Classic Period, the seat of Maya power was being shared by Calakmul and Tikal. Following the collapse of other nearby city-states, Tikal rose to supremacy. However, its rule would be marked by frequent warfare.
The admission fee required to enter the park is US$ 20- 22 (Q 150 quetzales).
The Lost World Pyramid is situated at the southwest central core of the park. This temple was built during the Late Preclassic period and adorned with masks for the sun deity. At the east side near the Seven Temples Plaza is Structure 5D-96, a rebuilt temple.
The Tikal National Park is open daily from 6 am until 6 in the evening. Note that the fee you pay is good for a day’s visit only. You can visit the park outside the normal working hours, but you have to pay US$ 12- 13 (Q 100 quetazales).