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by WCC on January 25, 2012

in North America

Tikal is an ancient city of the Maya in the rain forests of the Petén in northern Guatemala . She was one of the most important cities of the Classic Maya period (3rd to 9th century) and is one of the best studied Mayan cities. The first traces of human settlement ranging from early first Millennium BC back. In the second Century began, the actual urban development with the construction of temples, steles and temple-palace complexes. A first peak was in the 5thCentury reached as a powerful dynasty a small state after another subdued in the neighborhood and vassal kingdoms made, resulting in a long-standing conflict with the powerful neighboring state of Calakmul was. Experienced a second peak of Tikal in the 8th Century after Calakmul was defeated as a rival. In the early 9th Century waned, the power of Tikal, the construction stopped. Later than the 10th Century was to leave the city completely.

tikal Tikal


Tikal covers an area of approximately 65 square kilometers, of which the central area occupies approximately 16 square kilometers, which has over three thousand buildings. Many buildings (estimated at nearly 10,000 structures, particularly in the outlying areas) have been excavated and have not explored. It is estimated that the population of the city center at the peak of power in the classical period (8th century), at least 50,000 was people and the directagglomeration of the city even with a population of up to 200,000 could have reached.

The center of Tikal is the so-called Great place. He is surrounded by the temples I and II in East and West of the North and Central Acropolis in the north-south direction; also existed between Temple I and the Central Acropolis a ball court . Another ball games existed east of the temple I suppose the whole place was used as the embodiment of the worldview of the Maya, a kind of “cosmic space”: the “sky”, the North Acropolis , was the place where the rulers of Tikal were buried, while south of the square of the palace, the “underworld” embodied. This palace had two large galleries and stood on two great platforms.He had built up extensive and expensive than other comparable buildings and designs. It is likely that this palace on the Central Acropolis served as a royal residence.

Tikal, the ancient name was probably Mutal , the Emblemglyphe a knotted bundle represents. The exact translation is unclear, perhaps it can be with “flower” translate. The earliest settlements of Tikal took place at about 900 BC, which was established on the basis of ceramic finds. It took about five hundred years, to more complex structures were built. From about this time, Tikal became a leading center of the pre-classical period. The general decline at the end of this period (ca. 200 AD) Tikal survived, while many other centers in the pre-classical political insignificance sank or were abandoned.

tikal guatemala Tikal

tikal guatemala

From about this time, the influence of the central Mexican highlands nearby city Teotihuacan temple architecture in the visible. In the year 378, was finally released one coming from there or allied with Teotihuacán near Tikal army and conquered the city, where the reigning ruler Chak Tok Ich’aak I. (“Great Jaguar Paw”) was killed. However, there are indications that this “revolution” with the help of a powerful political group in Tikal vonstatten went. It is also believed that people resettled from Teotihuacán to Tikal, as the new rulers had used a new ruler. The new dynasty was in any case within a short time in the old, disappeared at the same time all the cultural references to central Mexico.

Middle of the fifth century began the first phase of the expansive city of Tikal, with the first held on steles campaigns under King K’an Chitam . At the same time, however, vanished the hegemonielle position that Tikal had been held in the southern lowlands. When 509 of ruler Chak Tok Ich’aak II died on a campaign, they chose in the absence of a male heir in the appropriate age until his six year old daughter to the new ruler. However, it was probably not much more than a puppet of the various noble families of the city and lost 537 of its domination by then exiled brother Chan K’awiil . These problems weaken Tikal dynastic indeed, but the city was still the leading power in the region.

tikal national park Tikal

tikal national park

This changed with the beginning of the conflict with the arch enemy of Calakmul . Disputes over the status of Caracol , Tikal led to a vassal, after some time in open war. 562 Tikal was in a battle near the city of Calakmul defeated and had to tolerate the enthronement of a particular ruler of Calakmul, which had more than one hundred-year period of weakness result, during the few new buildings were erected. This as a hiatus called phenomenon probably resulted from the fall of Teotihuacán ally.

Over the years, divided the aristocracy (or the ruling dynasty) in a faction, which called for the independence of Calakmul, and another faction, which advocated to remain in the Calakmul vassal system. As the first fraction of the mid-seventh century, and gained the upper hand with Nuun Ujol Chaak could make a king, wandered the Calakmul kindhearted nobleman after Dos Pilas out from where they continue to claim the throne of Tikal. The following bitterly fought war Calakmul managed again to secure the domination of Tikal, which was isolated in the years that targeted diplomatic.

The Calakmul indirect rule over other cities, as they had previously practiced Tikal itself was but one of the biggest weaknesses in the political system of the Maya kings. 695 succeeded to the new king of Tikal Jasaw K’awiil Chan , Calakmul inflict a heavy defeat to occupy the enemy city and re-establish a hegemony over the Maya area. This is the second expansion phase began in Tikal’s history. Under Jasaws successor Yik’in K’awiil Chan defeated Tikal and Calakmul all major ally and a vassal kings sat there. The time of the late 7th and the entire 8th Century was thus a time of great prosperity, growth accelerated and extensive construction activity, while the numerous palaces and temples have been extended. Even the enormous Temple IV dates from this period.

Beginning of the ninth century began, the sudden decline of the city. The disappearance of dated stelae appear with a loss of power elites and an extensive out-migration (or even a mass extinction) are to the general population. The exact causes for the collapse of the entire Mayan civilization at this time is still not clear exactly and is fiercely debated in the research remain. You may, however, was a serious drought in the Yucatan, the 800-830 began and extremely dry climate to the 10th Century had the effect of a major element of loss. The last date of Tikal stela dates from the year 879, making Tikal was one of the longest surviving classic Maya cities.

pin it button Tikal

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