Monday, June 2, 2014

Tikal - Mayan Ruins

Central Plaza with view of Temple I
Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting the Tikal Mayan ruins in Northern Guatemala.  Having now visited other Mayan and Incan ruins, I'm continually amazed by the architecture and advanced technology these civilizations developed!

Tikal is one of the largest urban sites of the Mayan empire and at its height, housed 250,000 - 350,000 people.  It's located in the middle of a jungle with no water source, so somehow they found water to sustain their community.  Parts of Tikal date back to 4 B.C. and the entire area is deep in the middle of a jungle.  The height of Tikal as the center of the Mayan civilization was 200-900 A.D.  In addition to being an amazing work of architecture and technology, parts of Star Wars episode IV were filmed there and scenes from the new Star Wars film were also shot here.

Hiking into the jungle to see the ruins

The first temple we came to
It was a very steep hike.  This was the shortest, but hardest to climb.  The others had wooden staircases to make the climb easier and safer.
Going up was easy - down was a bit more challenging but we did it!

View of Temple I from the top of this smaller temple
In front of the first small temple

Walking into the main plaza

The back of Temple I

Iconic Temple I from Temple II
Remember what I said about Star Wars....

New Star Wars movie poster

View through the jungle

Main plaza

Main plaza

Ruins - up close and personal

Main plaza from the Acropolis

Our guide found a tarantula.  I wasn't brave enough to hold it

View from on top of Temple IV (the highest of the temples).  Does this view look familiar?
From Star Wars Episode I

It was super hot and humid - but well worth the hike up

Our awesome tour leaders Jess and Becs

Jess goofing around at the top of Temple IV


Temple V

What it looked like when they first discovered Temple V

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