Tikal Guatemala – Ancient Mayan City & Star Wars Rebel Base

Welcome to Tikal, the impressive ancient town of one of the most powerful Mayan kingdoms!

Guatemala is known for being a region sprinkled with ancient town ruins, and Tikal is maybe one of the most fascinating ones. Today Tikal may be to Guatemala what the Great pyramids are to Egypt. Surrounded by rainforest, it is placed 300 kilometers north of Guatemala city.

It is one of the largest archaeological sites and urban centers of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization. In 1979 it was also declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The researchers estimate that it was populated by around 10,000 to as high as 90,000 inhabitants.

There were many speculations about the origin and meaning of its name, but its precise meaning still remains obscure. It didn’t get the name Tikal until its discovery in the 1840s. Before that, it was called Yax Mutal. Researches translated it as “the waterhole” because Tikal used to be a reservoir for hunters and travelers in the region. Alternative suggestions for the meaning of its name are "the place of the voices" in the Itza Maya language and "First Mutal" because Mutul was the name of the kingdom itself.

Even though the name itself remains a mystery, Tikal is still one of the best understood Maya cities, because the tombs of many rulers were discovered and the investigation of their monuments, temples, and palaces helped explain its history.

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