Friday, May 4, 2012

Tikal, Guatemala

Tikal is the largest excavated site in the American continent. It is Guatemala's most famous cultural and natural preserve.  Tikal possesses a certain magic... Like all puzzles without answers it fascinates everyone and we dare say... Tikal is so irresistible once you are here, you'll find yourself wanting to stay just a little longer!

      This majestic archaeological gem comprises 222 square miles of jungle all around the ceremonial center.  It took the University of Pennsylvania 13 years to uncover about 10 square miles of structures at Tikal.  However, much of it is still left to be unearthed.  So, do take some advice...  Don't try to see all of Tikal in one day, even if you are in excellent shape!

     Tikal remained a mystery for centuries, after being abruptly abandoned by the Maya over 1000 years ago and overgrown by a relentless jungle.  Only a legend survived among the Itza Maya people of a lost city, where their ancestors had achieved high cultural development.  In 1848 the legend faded, giving way to an exciting era ofdiscovery. It was a serendipitous discovery made by Ambrosio Tut, a gum collector or chiclero.

      He saw the temples' roof combs in the distance.  He ran to the island city of Flores to inform Modesto Mendez, then Governor of the Peten Province, in northern Guatemala.  When they arrived at the site the impressive temples, the open plazas and the several-story buildings, where priests and kings once lived, stood in front of Governor Mendez' and Ambrosio Tut's very eyes... They visited the site with an artist who recorded some of the carvings at Tikal.  Their findings were published by the Berlin Academy of Sciences in 1853.  It was only a matter of a few years before curious scholars started traveling from all corners of the world to see for themselves what they had discovered.

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