Guatemala Mayan Ruins

Guatemala has the largest Maya population of any country, and in terms of numbers, they are the dominant ethnic group. There are at least 15 distinct Mayan groups in the country, mostly living in the highlands. The Mayan culture extended to parts of what is now Mexico, Honduras, and El Salvador, and most of Guatemala and Belize.

Guatemala Mayan Ruins-Civilization

Guatemala includes much of the old Mayan civilization, which may date back as early as 300 BC. The classical Mayan period lasted from about AD 300 to 900 and featured highly developed architecture, painting, sculpture, music, mathematics (including the use of zero), a 365-day calendar, roads, and extensive trade.

Guatemala Mayan Ruins

In the 16th century, an anonymous, native Guatemalan author wrote the country's greatest literary work, now known as the Popol Vuh, or the Sacred Book of the Ancient Maya Quiché. The book relates the history of the Maya-Quiché people, from the beginning of time, when the earth and human beings were created, to the moment of the Spanish conquest.

Archaeological Sites

Many archaeological sites are found in Guatemala's highlands area as well. Some of these, such as Zaculeu, Iximché, and Gumarcaaj, were thriving cities when Spaniards arrived, the capitals of what were effectively small nations occasionally at war with each other.

Tikal National Park

The Tikal National Park lies within the Maya Biosphere Reserve, 3.9 million acres of protected forests and wetlands that comprise 19% of the Guatemala's land area and 50% of its existing forests.

Tikal National Park

The reserve contains the largest, intact, tropical forest in Central America, as well as more than 200 archaeological sites, all Maya, including Tikal, El Mirador, Yaxhá, Uaxactún and Dos Pilas.

Guatemala Mayan Ruins-Developements

At the beginning of the Preclassic period, people in Guatemala spoke an early form of the Mayan language. These early Maya also decided that living in caves and under palm fronds was passé, so they invented the na, or thatched Mayan hut - still used today throughout much of the country. Where spring floods were a problem, a family would build its na on a mound of earth.

Guatemala Mayan Ruins

In 1523 Spanish adventurer Pedro de Alvarado defeats the indigenous Maya and turns Guatemala into a Spanish colony. In the centuries following the Spanish conquest of the 1520s, the Mayan majority in Guatemala successfully avoided the fate of assimilation or destruction which met many indigenous peoples in Latin America and elsewhere.

Peten Guatemala

While economically exploited, the Maya have also been subject to a political culture of racism and exclusion, underpinned by a state which promotes the culture, values, customs and interests of the minority ladino population. El Zotz - El Peten site is quite close to Tikal. It is considered the most important discovery in the Mayan world since that of Pakal's tomb in Palenque.

The extraordinary colorfulness of the markets, the traditions preserved from one generation to the next, the splendor of religious processions through streets charmingly carpeted with colored sawdust, will make your stay here a marvellous experience.

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