Tikal is the ruins of an ancient city lying in the midst of the lush rainforest in Guatemala in the heart of Peten and this ruin was reported by Ambrosio Tut, a gum-sapper, to a La Gaceta, a Guatemalan newspaper and named the site Tikal. Report was republished in 1853 by the Academy of Sciences Magazine wherein archaeologist as well as treasure hunters started visiting the forest.
The forest canopy towers over this ruins up to 50 to 60 meters in height, a city of 60,000 – 70,000 inhabitants surrounded by corn fields which once bustled with plenty of activity. The ruin is one of the largest archaeological sites as well as urban centres of the pre-Columbia Maya civilization and is in the archaeological region of the Peten Basin in present northern Guatemala.
It is situated in the department of El Peten and is a part of Guatemala’s Tikal National Park. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.Today it is one of the most amazing and enjoyable site of Mayan due to its remote location as well as its jungle setting. Tikal National Park is situation in Northern Guatemala’s’ Peten province within a large forest region which has been referred as the Mayan Forest.
This extends to neighbouring Belize and Mexico. Tikal National Park, covered within a much larger Maya Biosphere Reserve exceeds two million hectares with contiguous additional conservation areas and is one of the few World Heritage site inscribed according to natural as well as cultural criteria for extra-ordinary biodiversity and archaeological importance.
The ruins of Tikal comprises of over 3,000 structures which extend to over six square miles and include palaces, ceremonial platforms, temples, ball courts, plazas, terraces, avenues as well as steam baths. Ancient Maya had started building Tikal around 600 BC while for the next 1500 years; it was an important religious, scientific and a political centre.
Tikal was a city of power and size with many beautiful buildings which have been discovered and many more yet to be uncovered. From the various Maya sites in Central America, Tikal is one of the most breath-taking sites, due to the scattered impressive buildings that are being restored in an area with several ruined buildings still enveloped by the jungle.
Tikal was a wealthy metropolis with around 100,000 inhabitants as well as the seat of power for the great Jaguar clan lords and attracts archaeologist from various parts of the world. The wild-life surrounding the ruins has made it an amazing destination to explore with the combination of nature and archaeological remains.
The site consist of 57,600 hectares of savannah, wetlands, tropical broadleaf and palm forests with numerous architectural as well as artistic remains of the Mayan civilization from the Preclassic period to the decline and eventual end of the urban centre around 900 AD.The forest consists of more than 200 species of trees with over 2000 higher plants which have been recorded across the diverse habitats.
The diverse ecosystems and the habitats have a wide spectrum of neo-tropical fauna and flora with five cats, including Jaguar and Puma with several species of monkey and anteaters together with over 300 species of birds, among the notable wildlife. Tikal is a site with universal outstanding value left by the Maya civilization.