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Tikal, Guatemala

Tikal, located in El Peten, Guatemala, is the largest of the ancient ruined cities of the Mayan civilization. Though monumental architecture at the site dates to the 4th century BC, Tikal reached its peak during the Classic Period, ca. 200 AD to 900 AD, during which time the site dominated the Maya region politically, economically, and militarily while interacting with areas throughout Mesoamerica, such as the central Mexican center of Teotihuacan. Following the end of the Late Classic Period, no new major monuments were built at Tikal and there is evidence that elite palaces were burned. These events were coupled with a gradual population decline, culminating with the collapse of the city by the end of the 10th century. Tikal had no water other than what was collected from rainwater and stored in underground storage facilities. Tikal prospered with intensive agricultural techniques, which were far more advanced than the slash and burn methods originally theorized by archeologists. The reliance on seasonal rainfall left Tikal vulnerable to prolonged drought, which is now thought to play a major role in the Classic Maya collapse. There are thousands of ancient structures at Tikal and only a fraction of these have been excavated after decades of archaeological work. The most prominent surviving buildings include six very large Mesoamerican step pyramids, each of which support a temple structure on their summits. Some of these pyramids are over 60 meters high (200 feet). The ruins lie on lowland rainforest and jaguars, jaguarundis and cougars are said to roam in the park. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular tourist spot.

This article is based on work found at Wikipedia. A list of contributors is available a the original article. This article is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 1.0 license.


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