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 Tikal 
  

 / Group G / Temple VI / Tikal Gallery / Tikal's Dynastic Line

The most famous of all Maya sites, Tikal was also the Economic and warfare Super Power of The Classic Maya world, and the largest City in América during the Classic era (250 to 900 AD), when it was known as Mutul or Yax Mutul, meaning Great (Green) Bundle, (Emblem Glyph to left), although Tikal was occupied since the Pre Classic, the site importance grew after the Mirador basin's large Pre Classic sites where abandoned. It was the Super Power among the Maya city-states, and it's major rivals were Calakmul, the Hix Witz Polity, La Corona and Waka´to the northwest, Caracol and El Naranjo to the east and Dos Pilas to the south , warfare with these cities were mainly between 560 and 700 AD. Its strongest allies, that formed a polity or "Mutul Cuchcabal" were Uaxactún, Yaxhá, Naachtún, Nakúm, and also had strong ties with Polol, Ceibal, Quiriguá, Piedras Negras, Río Azul, Copán  and Kaminal Juyú in the Central Highlands. This site is located north east of Flores, Petén, in the Tikal National Park, that was created in 1955; it was the first national park in Guatemala and it was declared in 1979 as the world's first UNESCO World Heritage Monument. It  also was the first mix one, in 1984, (Natural and Archeological, World Monument in the world, now there are 23). Tikal is a Large Mayan city, that started to be occupied from 800 BC until 900 AD and is surrounded by a pristine Tropical Forest, the area of the city itself is 122 Km2 (52 sq. miles),  with only 16 Km2. mapped, and more than 4000 structures identified to date,  the  Natural Park is 576  Km2. (142,080 acres). The founder of the Classic dynasty was, Yax Eb’-Xok, or Step-Shark, who is believed to have acceded to power ca. 90 A.D. With the ascension of Siyah K'ahk'  (Fire is Born) in 378 AD, Tikal conquered Uaxactún in a well documented "Star War", and emerged as the Superpower in the Classic Maya world.  (Martin and Grube 2000:27). (For a better explanation in Tikal's ancient History see Tikal's Dynastic Line, Maya Warfare and Maya Collapse).

The pyramids at Tikal,  are turned to face one another, and the rooms which are built at the top of the pyramid have depressions in the stone walls that serve Full Tikal mapAir View, Temple VI not shownas amplifiers of the voice which are broadcast in all directions. At the top of the pyramid the Ahau acquired god-like qualities. The design of the Mayan architects is expressed in its fullness. Due to the stone resonators, the voice of a person at the top of one pyramid, speaking at a normal volume, can be heard by another person standing at the top of another pyramid some astonishing distance away.

    The Park has a visitor’s centre witch we suggest that you visit first, it has a scale model of the uncovered part of the city and there you can plan your tour, there are guides available in English, Spanish, French, Italian and German languages. It also hosts the Stone museum, with 26 stelas and altars carved monuments with  577 years in history, (from 292 A.D. to 869 A.D) as well as the stone made “Hombre de Tikal”

 If you want to enjoy all that Tikal (Hide Place or Place where the Gods Speak the name given by Morley on 1863),  has to offer,  we suggest to start your visit in following the Méndez Causeway to the Temple VI or Inscriptions Temple, named  that way, because it has the largest Hieroglyphic inscriptions in the MayanTemple VI, Front Top world, and narrates the dynastic history of Tikal, it was build on 766 AD. In Temple VI, archaeologists found a huge hieroglyphic text with 186 glyphs measuring 80 cm (2 feet high) by 1 meter (3 feet wide) each, that records major events in Tikal's history and glorifies events during Yaxk'in Ca'an Chac or Yax'kin's reign. As a Group G, Passagewayresult of this information archaeologists have learned about Tikal's early history, back to 457 B.C., In the front of the temple, You can see the Stela 21 and altar 9. It will take you  around 25 minutes from the main entrance to go there but, because it is the more distant big structure from the Central Plaza, if you go the other way, maybe you will feel too tired to go there in the afternoon.  The path is surrounded by the jungle, and there is a goof chance to watch monkeys during your walk.   From there you'll go to the Group G or Acanaladuras Palace, a very distinctive, 2 stories, Late Classic Palace, composed by 23 Structures, that its worthwhile visiting, it has 11 different chambers, in the main building and is unique in the Mayan World, then you should proceed to Temple V, a large Pyramid build on 750 AD, that is 191 foot (59 mt.) High, that you can climb and has a very beautiful view of the others big structures of Temple V, sataircasesTikal, the porpoise of this building remains a mystery, it is not a tomb like the other big pyramids in Tikal and has only a small room in the top. At the right side you will see what appears to be a little mountain, but it is a still jungle-covered temple, that you can appreciate in the visitors centre. In front of this temple is one of the main water reservoirs of Tikal, now dry.

From Temple V you will go to the Seven Temples Plaza, with its triple ball fields, a unique feature in the Maya World, and in structure 5D-91, you can see large human heads made from stucco, as well as several Stelas and Altars, The Plaza of Seven Temples, so called because of the seven Late Classic Period temples, is one of the most attractive in Tikal, although the origin of the group may be traced back to the Preclassic Period. Many palaces to the south and west surround this spacious plaza; being quiet and secluded it is a great spot for bird watching, as is the adjacent Lost World, Facing the ball courts are three Late Classic Palaces. The largest of the Seven Temples, the middle one, is decorated with crossed bones in the back and has a plain stela in front.


Pa' Chan (Probably Yaxchilán or El Zotz) Lord, Son of a Calakmul Lord,  captured by Hasaw Chan K'awil in 695 AD. Bone at Tikal museum.

Then you go to Mundo Perdido or Lost World, the oldest in the site. Covering an area of 60,000 metres2, the Lost World comprises 38 structures, one of which is the Preclassic Complex for Astronomical Commemoration. This compound is the most ancient ensemble of Satellite View Central Plaza, Temples I,II,III,and V, Central south and north acropolisMaya structures in a harmonious arrangement associated with the observation of the stars, including the cycles of Venus and the Sun, as well as solstices and equinoxes, it has al the requirements for a "Group E". The main structure 5C-54 (the Great Pyramid of the Lost World) is a four-sided structure standing 30 meters high, and displaying masks and stairways on all four sides, which never bore a temple at the summit, was built over four other pyramids, the oldest of which was constructed in 800 B.C. The people of Tikal preserved this piece of their early history. Most other buildings from this time period had other structures built over of them. Being a special building, they kept up the appearance of this building with fresh paint and plaster. Some of the most delicate examples of ceramic pottery and Jade artwork were recovered here by the Guatemalan archaeological team of the "Proyecto Nacional Tikal" and are on display at the National Museum in Guatemala City as well at the site's museum. An important feature here is an early image of a Hero Twin  painted on the wall of the South Patio of Group 6C-XVI.  The Guatemalan  archaeologists, Laporte and Fialko named this panel the Mural de los Jugadores, (Ball Players Mural). Ball Players MuralThe mural depicts the great mythic ball game, pitting the Hero Twins against the Lords of the Otherworld. Examining the iconography, we can easily see the headband and yoke which help to identify him as a Twin. Part of his regalia is a death’s eye collar and an upside-down olla (ak’bal pot), from which descends a snake. Although the collar and  do not constitute the normal costume of the Hero Twins, they play an important role in recognizing cognates of the Twins. It also has Stucco masks half Jaguar and half Human, representing either the Sun and Xibalbá, or the "Way", or animal companion of the men. From the lost world, you also have a beautiful sight of the 60 mt high Temple III Roof Comb (The finest of all the Temples in Tikal), Temple IV, View from Mundo Perdido, stucture in the foreground is 5C 49 which is one of the earliest Great Temples at Tikaland the last big structure  to be build.

Then you go to Temple IV, (Under reconstruction) build on 740 AD and  the Tallest building in Tikal  at 212 feet high (64 mt.)     from the base of the platform supporting its pyramid to the top of its roof comb, is also called the "Two headed Serpent Temple", (due to a wooden lintel depicting a serpent with two heads), erected by  Yax k'in Ca'an Chac son of  Hasaw Chan Kawi'l (AD 682-734) or Ah Cacao buried (burial 116) at Temple I (The Great Jaguar Temple). He was the conqueror of Calakmul and Dos Pilas in the so called, Star Wars of the Classic Mayas, described in the hieroglyphic stairway in Dos Pilas. The sight from the top is unique and is the one that you have seen in the first Star Wars picture. 191,139 m3 (250000 cubic yards), were needed to build this Temple  and its supporting platform. From there, you should proceed to the central plaza visiting first the Group N, a "Twin Pyramid Complex", and the Temple III, (Not Reconstructed yet), build ca 810 AD, tomb of Chitam II, maybe the last powerful ruler, It has a carved wooden lintel, almost intact, depicting a central personage clothed in jaguar skin. A 2 story structure named Palacio de los Murciélagos (Bats Palace), on the Tozzer Causeway,  thought to be the main residential building, before the Central Acropolis was build, and was transformed in an administrative one.

Temple I, Great Jaguar Arriving then to a restrooms area, just before the Central Plaza with its two Big Temples, Temple I or Great Jaguar, 44 mt. (144 ft) high, the tomb of Hasaw Chan Kawi'l  and TempleTemple II, Masks Temple II or Masks Temple, 38 mt. (125 ft) high, and tomb of  Lajchan  Mo' or Lady Twelve Macaw his wife who died 704 A.D. Numerous monumental Stelas in the Great Plaza bear glyphic inscriptions about historic events. From these, and other inscriptions on wooden lintels, we know that Temple I was built for the 26th ruler of Tikal, Hasaw Chan Kawi'l. A wooden lintel, records his greatest victory, the capture of the Tok Pakal (War Emblem), of Calakmul on Agust 5, 695 AD. The building date is unknown, as it is unclear if Hasaw Chan Kawi'l  built it before his death or if his son, Yaxhk'in Ca'an Chac, constructed it in honor of his deceased father. The North Acropolis, with its 69 mt. long stairways, that lead to small temples with several burials, and giant stucco masks, the burial 22 is the oldest king found to date, (Str 5D-26, Chak Tok Ich’aak or great Jaguar Paw, 9th lord of Tikal). North AcrópolisThe North Acropolis was, for most of Tikal's history, the focus of the city's religious architecture and the preferred place of burial for rulers, with dozens of overlaid tombs dating back well into the Preclassic period Structure 5D-33 contained the burial of Tikal's most illustrious Early Classic ruler, Siyah Cha'an K'awil I  or Stormy Sky I. His tomb is overlaid with several other shrines, built by later rulers, to further commemorate Stormy Sky's reign and enhance their connections to him.


 Main Plaza

 Structure 5D-22 that dates to the Early Classic, it was covered by the now dismantled Temple 33 the tallest structure in the  North Acropolis. Its stairway sides Temple 33, 1956are adorned with large plaster masks of Chaac, the rain god. In front of the North Acropolis is the South Acropolis, also used for burials before the construction of the big Temples,  at the left of the Great Jaguar there is small  ceremonial ball court (This particular court is very small, and may have served a symbolic purpose, or perhaps it was used for an unknown one-on-one version of the ballgame). Then you can go to the south acropolis, that has several palaces and other structures not yet reconstructed.

The Central Acropolis,  has 45 structures, including palaces, administrative buildings,  and 6 patios. This is a complex of range-type structures that grew from the Late Preclassic until construction halted permanently in the Terminal Classic period. Most of its buildings are of the so-called Caracol Palace in Central Acrópolis St. 5D-46palace type, probably used for daily functions of the royal court. Teobert Mahler used certain buildings adjoining this plaza as a residence during his 1895 and 1904 excavations at Tikal (`Mahler's Palace`), which may have influenced Alfred Tozzer to later theorize that these buildings originally had a residential function. Among the main structures there is The Palace of "Chak Tok Ich'aak I" or Great Jaguar Paw I (St. 5D-46) is one of the South Acropolis, Temple I and II in Central Plaza and North Acrópolis in Backgroundoldest and was preserved by the rulers that succeed him, and a 5 story Palace.

 Then you can go to a rest area, next to the Group F,  4 structures in a large platform, until covered that was the commercial or market area, there are another grups called Complex H, M, N, O, P, Q and R, to the north of the North Acropolis, that You can visit taking the Mahler Causeway, and enjoComplex Qying the nature and if you keep quiet, some of the Fauna, while going out, being Complexes N, O and Q three of The 7 twin Pyramid complexes in Tikal, with several well preserved Stelas and Altars, (the famous Altar 5 was found in Complex N, dedicated by Hasaw Cha'an Káwil), that The Maya erected to commemorate the ending of a
K'atún (20 Years), with an Stela (22) and Altar (10) depicting the last Great king Chitam, (Yax Nuun Ayiin II), whom dedicated this complex in 771 AD, in a shrine to the right of the two pyramids (
Complex Q, right picture),  The structure 3D-43,  in Complex P is the one that has the largest rooms in Tikal, and also  many examples of ancient graffiti, this Turkey ceramic, Tikal museumcomplex was  dedicated by Yax'kin, on May 7, 751 AD,   Then proceed to the exit, and the restaurants' area,  or take the  Maudslay causeway and go to the exit were you can visit the ceramic museum "Sylvannus Griswold Morley", that includes, Hasaw Cha'an K'awiil's Burial 116, recreation, and learn more and appreciate the beautiful Sculptures, Polychrome ceramics or the Jade masks, obsidian, conch and ceramic art work, among other objects found in the burials (More than 180) and other findings  in Tikal.

  The last date recorded here is AD 869, and the city
was abandoned  not much later. The last king of Tikal, Hasaw Cha'an K'awiil II, who ruled from 869 up to 889?, seems to have attempted to reestablish royal power and he is mentioned at Ceibal, but the political climate was now dramatically transformed and the last mention of this king is from a stela erected in 889 at Uaxactún.

Harpy Eagle in Tikal.On the Natural Side, there are 11 different types of forest classified there, due to the micro-climes, that range from tropical and subtropical humid to tropical dry forest with at least 185 different tree species, 32 micro-biota species, 352 bird species, including 60 endangered, such as the Cojolita, Red Chest Falcon, the Crested and Harpy Eagles, the Faison, 3 Macaw Sub species and several parrot and parakeets species. There are also 105 reptile species, including 50 serpent sp. and 25 amphibious species.  

 There are 102 mammals species including felines like the Jaguar (70 individuals estimated, 2005), Cougar, Jaguarundi, Ocelot, Margay and Onza, Grey Fox, 60 different species of Bats, big species like Tapir, White Tail Deer, and Peccary (wild boar), and of course Spider as well as black and brownTikal, Toucan in Mundo Perdido Howling monkeys, witch are  very easy to see and hear all over the park, there are also, 535 different butterflies, 90 unique to the area.

The park is open daily from 7 AM to 6 PM, the fee is Q. 50 for foreigners, an additional Q. 20 fee is necessary to visit the museums, it is 60 Brown Hawling Monkeypaved Km. away from the Flores city area, and there are several options to go there from Flores. The buses start departing Flores at 5 AM, and initiate the return at 2 PM each half hour, charging Q 60 for the round trip.  Several car rentals, are available in the International Airport.

If you prefer to stay more than the day, and experience the unique sunset and the jungle and bright night skies in Tikal, there are 3 hotels in the Park.  You also can go camping, (a "must" in full moon), to go to the ruins at night, request permission in the Park's Administration, close to the Museums. (Electricity will go out at 10 PM).


Flights from Guatemala City to Flores (45 minutes), are available on a daily basis, as well as non-stop good quality Bus transportation (8 hours). The flights from Belize to Flores were cancelled due to the lack of compliance with the FAA regulations of the two Belizean airlines, in November 2007, TAG and TACA are trying to take this route, and the Belizean Maya Air is working in its quality standards. Flights from Cancún are available with two airlines, and Continental flies direct from Houston, twice a week. The new International Airport Terminal is under construction, and expected to be finished by 2008's summer.

 

     

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Last updated 28/01/2011 17:07:33 -0500
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