Maya Kaminalhuiu hillfort


Kaminaljuyu, Kaminaljuyu - The ancient city of Maya on the outskirts of the capital of Guatemala. The name is translated from the Mayan language as "hill of death." Archaeological excavations are difficult because the site is mainly located within the modern city.

The city of Kaminalhuyu was formed at the turn of the VIII-IX centuries BC. e. Presumably in those years it was the only urban center in the Mayan lands. He was probably heavily influenced by the city of Teotihuacan, while Kaminalhuiu was a border town. Buildings were constructed mainly from air-dried clay bricks, of which about 400 structures were built.

After the disappearance of Mayan civilization, the city was abandoned. It was first studied by Alfred P. Maudsley at the end of the 19th century and Manuel Gamio in 1925.

Alfred Kidder, excavated at Kaminalhui from 1929 to 1950, created the Mayan civilization stratigraphy on their basis.

Michael Coe considered Kaminalhuyu one of the greatest archaeological sites of the New World, although today there are only a few hills from the city and it looks faded against the background of many other Mayan cultural monuments visited by tourists. In the 1930s, when it began to be studied by archaeologists, about 200 platforms and pyramidal hills were discovered in the city, many of which were created until the end of the pre-classical period, that is, before 250 AD. e.

Parts of Kaminaljuyu that have been studied so far are located on a large plain, approximately under the western part of the modern city of Guatemala. The Guatemalan valley is surrounded by hills, and several volcanoes rise in the south. At an altitude of about 2 km above sea level, the climate is temperate, the soil is fertile due to volcanic emissions. Embankments of volcanic tuff sometimes reach depths of several hundred meters.

Kaminalhuiu suffered from buildings at the end of the 20th century, although the part of the city dating back to the classical period was preserved as a park. The unsightly appearance of the preserved buildings is not only due to the contrast with the developing modern city, but also due to the fact that many structures were adobe, short-lived compared to sandstone structures in most other Mayan cities. For this reason, the real size of the ancient Kaminalhuyu and its role in Maya society are unlikely to be established accurately.

Photo and description

Kaminaljuyu, located in the central valley of Guatemala, is one of the few well-preserved Mayan complexes in the region. This is a unique example of an architectural complex of adobe complex buildings, some of which have burial chambers, reliefs and painted surfaces, emphasizing the richness of ancient culture.

Its strategic location made it possible at one time to control a number of the most important trade routes. According to studies, it is believed that the site was the largest producer and exporter of obsidian, which was mined in several nearby quarries. Between 1000 BC and 200 AD Kaminalhuyu (“the site of the ancestors” in the Mayan Quiche language) was one of the most important centers in the southeastern part of Mesoamerica.

This place was discovered at the beginning of the twentieth century. Over the past 100 years, more than fifty archaeological sites have been discovered in Kaminalhuiu. In addition to excavations, scientists described the sculptures and made maps of the area. In 1925, Manuel Gamio began the search, finding deep cultural deposits, debris and clay figures of a layer of "secondary culture" of Mesoamerica. Ten years later, when clearing a site for a football field, two mounds were discovered that turned out to be ancient burials. These two hills are still the largest finds in the settlement, part of a complex of seven buildings. Rich royal tombs were opened for researchers, presumably the dynasties of the rulers of the preclassical era of Kaminalhuyu.

In the early 1950s, Heinrich Berlin unearthed a large mound in the ancient pre-classical layer. In the 1960s, Pennsylvania State University conducted extensive excavations at Kaminalhui. In the 1990s, Marion Popeno de Hutch and Juan Antonio Valdez conducted research in the southern areas of the site, and the Japanese team explored a large mound near a modern archaeological park. In 1970, great discoveries were made of the Mayan hieroglyphic texts, which cast doubt on earlier theories about the origin of this civilization.

The proximity of the ever-expanding city prompted the government to place Caminaljujo in 2010 on the World Monuments Watch list - endangered cultural monuments. This contributed to the improvement of the research archaeological park of the settlement, an educational center was built for visitors and tourists with detailed information on the status of excavations and finds. Funding was provided by the government of Japan. Old excavation tunnels of the 1960s were bombarded, and the World Monument Fund helped fund the development of new protective coatings for two archaeologically sensitive areas to protect fragile material from erosion.

The ancient city of Mishko Viejo

Maya Indians - it was they who owned this settlement, built in the 12th century BC. The history of the city has many theories, but they all boil down to one thing: Mishko Viejo had an important geopolitical significance from those times until the 16th century - when it was destroyed by conquestadors.

Now the object is open for tourism, there is a museum on the territory. It was conditionally divided into 4 distinct sections, but on the whole Mishko Viejo has the features of defensive structures.

Atitlan Volcano

Stratovolcano (high layered volcano), not erupted for almost 200 years. A hike to the top will give a tourist a wonderful view of Lake Atitlan, it will allow you to see incredible, beautiful birds that have found refuge on the slopes of the giant.

Part of the road will pass through the forest, and then the gaze of the Indian ceremonies - gorges, from which hot air (volcanic gases) soars. These cracks are called fumaroles. Atitlan belongs to the chain of the Pacific Ring of Fire - the perimeter of the ocean, along which the predominant part of the active volcanoes of the Earth is concentrated.

The most powerful city, which happened to exist for only about 150 years - it, like many other settlements, was burned at the hands of the conquistadors. Over the years, archaeological expeditions cleared the ruins, rebuilt buildings, and excavated.

Now the visitor can see the remains of palaces and temples here. Some places are rather creepy - human sacrifices and worship of evil deities were held there (Tohil temple). The preserved embankments, platforms, squares, caves - all these are the remnants of once residential premises, altars, noble temples, towers. Modern Keche (representatives of the Mayan ethnic group) still light candles among the ruins of Gumarkakh.

Church of San Jose El Viejo

It sounds unusual, but this church is a ruin of amazing beauty. Built in the mid-18th century, it has such a number of decorative elements that it still looks very elegant. Of course, restoration work was not done - constant earthquakes do not cease to disturb the country and destroy its past. Nowadays, you can often find weddings at the temple - thanks to him, newlyweds will be able to boast amazing photographs.

Santa Clara Church: Ruins

The largest complex of monasteries from the first years of its existence was subjected to endless shaking. Not a single stage of the construction of the temple was completed in such a way as to exist for many years.

It is located on 2nd North Avenue - these are spacious courtyards, which will be very interesting to visit. The complex has a fountain, around - picturesque gardens. The facade is not as noticeable as the interior: the walls of the corridors and arches are decorated with stucco. Well preserved part of the temple, located underground.

Museum of Colonial Art

University, school, church, exhibition hall - these are the milestones in the history of the building of the current museum that he experienced. The building is located next to the Central Park and is the viewer in the form of a beautiful ensemble of arches, columns, fountains and ornamental plants.

The museum, which began operating in 1936, has relatively few exhibits - a little more than a hundred. But the collection is very curious and has a special wealth in terms of decor and a variety of exquisite details. The building itself is also marked by spectacular patterns and consists of four galleries, inside which there is a spacious courtyard.

Cathedral of San Jose

The existence of the main Catholic church of the city originates in the middle of the 16th century, but the two largest earthquakes allow us to see at the moment only a part of the pristine building - and that only from the second stage of construction: the first church was completely demolished.

The current cathedral was rebuilt and moved to the capital, there were also transported religious objects. But on the site of the ruins, the temple, which is called the Church of St. Joseph, is also preserved and restored. Its surviving jewelry still attract tourists.

This islet town located on the shores of Lake Peten Itza always leaves a lasting impression on visitors. A calm, mirror-smooth lake, many flowering plants, the absence of cars, the peaceful mood of the inhabitants - the atmosphere of the city of Flores is magical.

Surprisingly, even local birds are meek and allow themselves to be photographed. The city center has a slightly unusual architecture. In general, it makes an impression of a beautiful resort in which to relax.

The most famous and largest Mayan settlement. The ancient settlement - its existence dates back to the 7th century BC. There are temples here, the largest of them are burial. They were built as complexes - Mundo-Perdido, Northern Acropolis.

The grouping of buildings is explained simply: the territory is characterized by marshy soils. Excavations of Tikal continue even now, because the city was huge and consisted of more than 100 structures, but we can observe only some of them.

Lagoon del tigre

This intricate name has the National Park, consisting of a conservation area with wild plants and quiet backwaters. In this place, a huge number of animals and birds are listed in the Red Book.

Of course, walking along these wonderful beauties alone is not worth it - but it will be very entertaining with a guide. For tourists there is a special biological station where you can relax on the picturesque banks of the San Pedro River.

Sipacate Naranjo

These are two cities that gave a double name to the national park located between them. In the park you can admire beautiful clean beaches, blue lagoons. It consists mainly of evergreen deciduous forests. Very rare reptile species live here, as well as birds that are rarely found in the rest of Guatemala.

One of the oldest cities belonging to the Mayan civilization. It was a city-state, its distinguishing feature was the status of a military and commercial settlement. The city was discovered by contemporaries in the 20th century and at the opening it was called El Peru. But in the places of excavation, archaeological scientists, of course, found evidence in the form of hieroglyphs with the true name - Waka.

Monterrico Beach

The beach in the city of Monterrico, tourists have chosen relatively recently. Its main feature is a huge number of turtles, which are interesting to watch for wildlife lovers. Of particular interest is the period of hatching of the cubs, when hundreds of babies begin their life's journey, overcoming all the “beach barriers” on the way to the water, amusing amusement tourists-lovers of uninhabited shores.

Santander Street

Everyone who wants to buy souvenirs or national clothes in Guatemala should go to the city of Panajachel. It is here that all the opportunities to spend money are concentrated - travel agencies, restaurants and cafes, markets, products of traditional Indian crafts in souvenir shops: all this makes up a huge variety of goods, services and entertainment.

Ritual cave

In the dark cave near Quetzal Park, now you can see only rock inscriptions. But the place is still of great interest: a tourist who went down there on a very steep slope will see trees growing around the cave from an unusual angle.

Semuk Champey

A place that delights in its beauty. Waterfalls hidden in the deep jungle and consisting of many light cascades. The most beautiful and most difficult route to this place is called El Mirador, and there are two more - easier, and they are also beautiful.

Gem processing factory

Here, the visitor will be offered a tour of the museum, which contains an incredible amount of stones - jade and jadeite, as well as walk around the factory itself in order to see the processing process. The museum is free, you have to pay only if you want to buy a jewel.

It is impossible to describe all the beautiful places of Guatemala - the country is really rich in remarkable landscapes. But there is one very sad characteristic of these attractions: given the high seismic activity, they are rapidly deteriorating, and historians of many countries are now helping Guatemala maintain its heritage - a real concentration of the ancient Mayan culture.


The largest city of the ancient Mayan civilization, which developed from the sixth century BC to our sixth, was Tikal, located in a beautiful valley with a tropical jungle. At that time, the settlement consisted of over one hundred architectural complexes.

The territory excavated in our time in its central part is approximately sixteen square kilometers.

There are nine groups of buildings located on artificially aligned hills, separated from each other by deep depressions.

It is curious that the objects are located equally relative to the cardinal points.

It is interesting that the pyramidal temples of Tikal were built by ancient masters according to a single model. These were towers elongated almost seventy meters high, considered the highest in the architectural architecture of the Mayans. The lower ledges of such pyramids were usually decorated with kinks in the corners and a furrow, which visually hid the monumental bulkiness. The front facade was traditionally adjoined by a rather steep wide staircase without barriers, which led to a spacious sanctuary at the top of the pyramid, which consisted of several dark and cramped rooms. It should be noted that such a feature is that at each step of ascent, the human foot was barely placed. A giant decorative hollow ridge visually increased the height of the squat structure of the sanctuary. Most likely, only selected priests were allowed here. Rectangular squares decorated with a series of carved steles were provided in front of all the temples of Tikal. Secular buildings are concentrated in the Central Acropolis: the palaces of the Stairs (Group G) and the Windows (Bats), as well as other structures erected around the Seven Temples Square.

The main building of the wonderful ensemble is Temple I - the Big Jaguar. This is the tomb of King Ha Saha Chaan Cahuil.

Wiki: en: Tikal

  • en: Tikal
  • uk: Tikal
  • de: Tikal

    This is a description of the attractions of the ancient Mayan city of Tikal 17.5 km south of Peoria, Petnom (Guatemala). As well as photos, reviews and a map of the surroundings.Find out the history, coordinates, where it is and how to get there. Check out other places on our interactive map, get more detailed information. Get to know the world better.

    1. Mayan City - Tikal

    In the humid jungle of northern Guatemala, near the border with Belize, one of the greatest archaeological sites in Central America, the well-preserved Mayan city of Tikal, hid from the eyes. The heyday of the city came around 600 BC. and until 900 AD, then the population of the city was almost 90,000 people. Tikal represents more than 3,000 buildings, from pyramids and temples to squares and the acropolis. Tikal has been one of the most important Mayan centers for over a thousand years, and today it is one of the largest Mayan archaeological sites of its time period.

    During a tour of the main attractions of Guatemala, in addition to the amazing Mayan buildings, you can get to know the beautiful world of the tropical jungle, as the steep pyramids of Tikal rise above the lush green canopy, where birds, monkeys and other wild animals that often visit this area live. Tikal is located in the eponymous national park, which covers the ruins, it is a biosphere reserve that protects tropical forests and wildlife.

    2. Antigua Guatemala (Antigua Guatemala)

    Antigua-Guatemala, most often called Antigua, is one of the most interesting cities in Guatemala and, of course, one of the most beautiful cities in Central America. This former capital of colonial Guatemala, located among the surrounding volcanoes at an altitude of more than 1,500 meters, offers a unique view of the colonial city, which, according to the sensations, remained in the 17th century.

    Here, cobbled streets are framed by beautiful old colonial buildings, some of which testify to earthquakes that have contributed to the history of the city. In addition to houses of the 17th century, the city has many ancient churches and monasteries.

    3. Lake Atitlán

    Atitlan Lake is considered by many travelers the most beautiful lake in the world, but if not in the world then in Central America for sure. The lake is located among volcanoes at an altitude of 1538 meters, a two-hour drive from the former colonial capital of Guatemala, the city of Antigua Guatemala. The lake basin is volcanic in origin, filling the huge caldera formed by the eruption of the volcano almost 90,000 years ago.

    Three spectacular volcanoes are the backdrop for clear water and surprisingly strange villages along its shores. In 1955, the area around Lake Atitlan became a national park. The lake is surrounded by many villages in which the Mayan culture is still widespread and the local population wears traditional Mayan clothes and even lives on the Mayan calendar.

    4. The city of Chichicastenango (Chichicastenango)

    The isolated Guatemalan city of Chichicastenango, better known as Chichi, is a large city surrounded by valleys and mountains near Lake Atitlan. The sleepy cobblestone streets come to life on Thursdays and Sundays, as it houses one of the largest and most hectic markets in Guatemala, the Municipal Market. This is a local market selling ordinary everyday goods, vegetables and distinctive textiles, which he is especially famous for, as well as many tourist souvenirs.

    5. The village of Monterrico (Monterrico)

    The small coastal village of Monterrico with its laid-back atmosphere and stunning ocean views will appeal to any tourist who is looking for magnificent beaches surrounded by beautiful nature. In addition to its beaches, which are distinguished by their color due to volcanic origin, Monterrico is famous for its turtle incubator and mangrove swamps. Excursions to mangrove swamps are conducted only with local guides. Several conservation organizations for turtles operate in the Monterrico area because a long stretch of beach provides a breeding ground for four species of sea turtles.

    6. The second city of Quetzaltenango

    Quetzaltenango, Guatemala's second largest city, is the commercial and tourist center of southwestern Guatemala. From a small Central American city you do not expect any amazing sights and revelations, and the more pleasant it is to make a mistake, Quesaltenango is without a doubt beautiful. It is worth highlighting Park a Centro America and the neoclassical buildings surrounding it. Most of these buildings, in addition to the cathedral, are associated with the era of the XIX century, when many artists lived in the city. Many visitors come to Quetzaltenango to learn Spanish and enjoy hiking in the nearby mountains.

    Walking to the Tahumulco stratovolcano, the highest in Central America, is one of the most adventurous options. In addition to being a relatively clean and safe city, it is located at an altitude of 2333 meters, which can lead to a lack of oxygen for unprepared tourists. The city also serves as a starting point for excursions to many nearby villages marked by their hot springs and crafts.

    7. Volcano Pacaya (Pacaya Volcano)

    The Pakaya volcano, rising to a height of more than 2,550 meters, makes it possible to observe volcanic activity at a safe distance first hand. Located near the capital of Guatemala, this volcano is one of the most active on Earth, it has been constantly erupting since 1965, and lava explosions constantly change their appearance. It should be noted that, since the volcano is active, excursions to it are associated with some risks.

    8. Livingston the Caribbean City of Livingston

    This small town with many brightly painted wooden houses amid coconut groves is located along the Caribbean coast of Guatemala. Livingston is a real ethnographic landmark of Guatemala because of its population of Garifuna, descendants of runaway slaves and indigenous Mayans. They created a distinctive culture and language. Also, the city is famous for its palm beaches.

    9. Lankin Caves (Grutas de Lanquín)

    Lankin Caves are located northeast of Koban; they are deep limestone caves containing an underground river with various lagoons and unique rock formations. Tourists can take a tour of a small section of the cave, which has walking paths and lighting. Thousands of bats live in the Lankin cave, they provide an interesting sight when they begin a nightly mass exodus from the cave for food.

    10. Museum Popol Vuh (Museo Popol Vuh)

    For those who spend time in the city of Guatemala, and not on the magnificent beaches or in the lap of the beautiful nature of the country, one of the most interesting places to visit is the Popol Vuha Museum. It is home to one of the largest collections of Mayan art in the world, known for its extensive collection of pre-Columbian and colonial art of Mayan culture. The exhibition presents a large collection of masks, ceramics, precious stones, tools and sculptures. The Mayan Ceramics section presents some of the best preserved vases and bowls of this nation.

  • Ancient city

    Wall mask from Kaminalhui
    14 ° 37′58 ″ s w. 90 ° 32′57 ″ s d. H G I O L