Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Great Plaza

This is a view of the Great Plaza, with the Central Acropolis on the left and Temple II in back.  There is an excellent map of Tikal here, which helps to provide a sense of the layout of the site.  

When Tikal was a living city, it was clear (no jungle) and the different plazas and building complexes were connected by causeways.  Today, you walk from complex to complex under a jungle canopy and it can be difficult to keep oriented to how the city looked overall.  

According to our guide Noah, the population of Tikal at its peak was 80K - 100K, which would have put it on par with the largest European cities at that point in history.  (On a related note, the population of Belize during the peak of Maya civilization was reportedly 1M.  Today it is just over a quarter of that, 280K.)

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