Can you believe the Mayan people built the Tikal Ruins during the ca 200 to 900 AD period in Guatemala? At its peak about 1,500 years ago, Tikal was home to about 100,000 Maya!
Tikal is a great place to visit if you want to see one of the most famous ruined cities of the Classic Period of the Maya. It is located in north central Petén, Guatemala, about 50 miles northwest of the border with Belize. Tikal is the largest and probably the oldest of the Maya cities. In a high canopy jungle, the site has 3,000 buildings, including several tall temples that rise above the trees. It consists of nine groups of courts and plazas built on hilly land above surrounding swamps (which may have been lakes in former times) and interconnected by bridges and causeways. The main civic and religious center of the city covers about 500 acres. Between 600 AD and 800 AD, the great Maya centers of the southern lowlands fell into ruin – they don’t know the exact reason but have many ideas. Many theories have tried to explain this disruption, including over-population, extensive warfare, revolt of the farmer/laborer class, or any number of devastating natural disasters. Whatever the reason, it ended up wiping out most of the population.
The ancient Maya were not empire builders, like many other Indian populations. Instead, they formed independent commonwealths. Their common culture, calendar, architecture, mythology and spiritual view of the world united them as Maya - True People.