Javier PALENCIA
Javier PALENCIA

Guatemala and the most
amazing Mayan sites

Guatemala, May 8, 2020

The Mayan Civilization flourish in a region known as Mesoamerica, a big melting-pot in southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador and a part of Honduras. In modern day Guatemala we find the birthplace of this culture, close to the Pacific Coast there is the archeological site of Takalik Abaj (Standing Stone), where we find the first iconographical traces linked directly to the Maya, from this point on its influence grew to cover the whole region.
 
Through a large commerce web, they managed to export their “know-how” in near-by cities that became wealthier thanks to this exchange. Each city was stablished in a strategical point in a huge commerce route that linked different towns in the highlands and the coasts. This intricate trade included Quetzal and Macaw feathers, jade and other green stones, flint and obsidian blades, different kinds of animals and food, which allow them a cultural enrichment.
 
These are some of the main Mayan sites in Guatemala, from the pre-classic to the postclassic:

Sitio maya El Mirador_la Danta Guatemala

The Mirador

It is the most emblematic site of the Pre-Classic Maya period in Guatemala, this city, built on swampy terrain, which was flooded and provided water for the first inhabitants. Little by little, the Mirador became a great city-state, the capital of the Kan Kingdom, with temples, pyramids and palaces decorated with images that tell us about its divinities and worldview. The Pyramid of the Danta is the architectural work recognized by this site for its height, the highest in all of America.

Uaxactun

Up north Tikal, this site is a landmark for the Mayan Archeology, as it was here where the first observation complex was identified, know as Group E, that consist in long rectangular space with two platforms along-side, which are markers for the solstices and equinoxes, it was very important to keep track of the astronomical events that gave pace for the different crops they planted.

Sitio maya Uaxactun Guatemala
Sitio maya Tikal Guatemala

Tikal

All began with a small settlement in pre-classical period. The governors and then Kings knew how to create a large commercial route that connected Tikal with other main cities, that provide the wealth and the control through different alliances sealed with marriages between siblings from the other cities under Tikal’s control. With a local architectural style, they built twin Pyramids plazas, pyramids, and temples, the best known is the Great Jaguar, a funerary monument to Hasaw Chan K’awil, this king was buried on 764 A. D.

Quirigua

Located in a strategical place, right between the access to the highlands and the Atlantic Coast, Quirigua emerge as an important commercial port. Stablished by members of Tikal’s royal family, that continued their way to settle the City of Copan further west. Even if it is a small archeological site, is rich in art engraved in large stelas and altars, that depicts the origin of the Maya and their cosmology. Almost all the architectural remains are still covered.

Sitio maya Quirigua Guatemala
Sitio maya Iximché Guatemala

Iximché

This city reflects the changes in architectural styles in the postclassical period. Located in a large platform on top of a hill, it has four large spaces, each one has a plaza for public ceremonies, then the residential areas for the elite and the government, each space was controlled by a different family. There are traces that linked some patterns to pre-classical and classical sites. One of the main changes is the ballcourt, that is smallest and is also enclosed. It was in this city where the Spanish Conqueror Pedro de Alvarado stablished the first Spaniard Capital in the region in 1524.

These are some of the Mayan cities that still astonish archeologist due to the cultural richness that this advance civilization accomplished, that are part of the history of mankind, part of Guatemala’s legacy. Dare to be part of this history, be part of the cycle, the cycle of sustainable tourism. Travel to Guatemala !

Javier Palencia
Expert FIT Guatemala – Belize

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Grupo SOSTAVISA, S.A

1ra calle A, 20-79, Zona 14,
Las Victorias, Ciudad Guatemala

Teléfono/Phone number:
(+502) 2308 5223 / 3759 2788

correo electrónico/E-mail: info@gruposostavisa.com

Grupo SOSTAVISA, S.A

1ra calle A, 20-79, Zona 14,
Las Victorias, Ciudad Guatemala

Teléfono/Phone number:
(+502) 2308 5223 / 3759 2788

correo electrónico/E-mail: info@gruposostavisa.com