Tikal National Park Facts

Tikal National Park Facts
Tikal National Park is a 57,000 hectare park located in the Petén Province of northern Guatemala. Tikal was an ancient Maya civilization's complex dating back to 600 BC. At one time the city of Tikal was believed to have been home to more than 100,000 Mayan people. The reason for the civilizations demise may be attributed to war, disease, hunger, and the depletion of resources have all been considered possibilities. The ruins of Tikal were discovered in 1848. 100 years later restoration of the ruins' structures took place. In 1931 Tikal was declared a national monument and in 1955 it became a national park. In 1979 the site was designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Interesting Tikal National Park Facts:
It is believed that a Spanish explorer named Hernan Cortes passed by the ruins in 1525 but did not see them as they were not mentioned in his documentation.
In 1696 a friar lost in the jungle near Tikal may have spotted the ruins as he mentioned ruins.
Tikal ruins were discovered by an expedition sent out in 1848 by the Guatemalan government.
Tikal is even more grand that Chichen Itza in Mexico, which is considered to be an amazing Mayan site of historical importance.
Tikal was inhabited by Mayans from approximately 600 BC to the 10th century A.D.
An archaeologist named Edwin Shook helped to have Tikal National Park established. He was the field director of the Tikal Project carried out by the University of Pennsylvania beginning in 1956.
Tikal National Park is a jungle environment and the forest is all protected from hunters so the wildlife is abundant.
There are 333 bird species known to be living or migrating within Tikal National Park including parrots, woodpeckers, warblers, and many others.
There are at last 54 known mammal species living within Tikal National Park. Some of these species include the howler monkey, anteaters, jaguars, tree-toed sloths, and spider monkeys.
Only approximately 30% of the ancient Mayan city Tikal has been uncovered. The remainder lies buried by earth and jungle.
Tikal was the center of the Mayan civilization. It had palaces, public squares and many temples. The tallest of these temples - Templo de la Serpiente Bicefalcia - reaches 230.98 feet in height. It was built in approximately 741 AD for Yik'in Chan K'awiil.
The ruins of Tikal are approximately 12 miles from the entrance of Tikal National Park.
The Mayans often used the remains of one building to construct a new one. This makes it difficult in some cases to date a building.
Tikal National park is only open during the day, but visitors can stay up until 8pm to view wildlife in the evening, when it becomes more active.
Tourists that visit Tikal National Park can enjoy zip lining through the jungle if they wish to try one of the two zip lines available.
Activities that visitors to Tikal National Park can experience include hiking, visiting ruins, exploring the jungle paths, wildlife viewing, bird watching, staying in hotels or resorts nearby, visiting museums in the park, or taking guided tours.


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