Temples and Structures of Tikal, Guatermala

By mayantravel | Apr 22, 2021
Central America > Guatemala > Petén > Tikal

The massive Mayan Ruins of Tikal in Guatemala. Considered one of the most important natural and cultural reserves of the country and the world, Tikal is a top destination for any traveler.

Impressive view of a temple in Tikal, Guatemala

Impressive view of a temple in Tikal, Guatemala

Anyone who takes any of our Tikal Tours Packages of 2 days & 1 night to visit classic Mayan ruins of Tikal will be impressed. Rising out of the dense jungle, the looming temples demonstrate the mighty civilization of the ancient Mayans. They demand respect from their visitors, even thousands of years after their construction.

The Park

The Tikal National Park, in the department of El Peten, was created in May 1955 and regulated in September 1957. In 1979 it was declared World Cultural and Natural Heritage by UNESCO for its exceptional value by combining extraordinary natural and cultural richness. It occupies an area of 576 square kilometers, and its sides are 24 kilometers long. It is considered one of the most important natural and cultural reserves of the country of Guatemala and the world for the great variety of fauna and flora species as well as for the numerous remains of the temples and extinguished Mayan city located there.

The Archaeological Site

The mapped area is 16 square kilometers, where more than 4,000 structures and buildings of various kinds are located. The earliest accessible evidence of occupation of the city dates back approximately to the year 800 B.C. A period of Maya history identified as Middle Pre Classic. The last found structures correspond to the late Classic lapse, approximately 900 years A.C. These 1,500 years of consecutive occupancy gave it a high cultural, artistic, architectural, urban, mathematic, astronomic, agricultural and commercial development, which has motivated the international admiration and scientific interest.

On our excursions packages, you will experience the magic of the iconic department of Petén and explore the world famous Mayan civilization of Tikal, located in the lush jungles of Northern Guatemala. Spend your night on a relaxing sunset tour looking out at the waters of Lake Petén.

Main Temples

In the Tikal National Park there are six big temples, all of them built during the Classic period.

Temple I

It is also called the Temple of the Great Jaguar. It closes the Grand Plaza by the East and is 45 meters high. It was built around 700 A.C. by the ruling Jasaw Chan. Also known as King of Cacao, whose tomb was found inside of the temple. A replica of it can be contemplated at the Sylvanus G. Morley Museum.

Temple II

It is also called Temple of the Masks. It closes the Grand Plaza by the West and is 38 meters high. Like Temple I, it was built by the ruling King of Cacao 700 A.C.

Temple III

It is also known as the Temple of the Great Priest about 60 meters high. The Stella 24 and Altar 7 are in front of it. This temple has an original Great Preacher wearing a jaguar pelt. It was built to the West of Temple ll. It was built around a temple, and it has an original carved wooden lintel with its central doorway.

North Acropolis

It is located to the North of the Great Plaza. It has various structures of ceremonial character and masks.

Temple IV

It is also known as the Temple of the two headed Snakes Square and is 65 meters high, being the tallest in A.C. It is situated to the West of the Grand Plaza, being the tallest structure in Tikal. It was built around 740 AC. The traveler can climb to the base of the crest and have a delightful view of the site. A scene of the famous movie Star Wars was filmed at the top of this temple.

Central Acropolis

It is located to the South of the Great Plaza. It has various residential and governmental constructions, buildings with various rooms and stories, as the Maler Palace and the Five-Story Palace, among others. It lines to the South with the so-called reservoir or watering of the palace.

South Acropolis

This area has not yet been overlooked. It is situated between Temple V and the Square of the Seven Temples.

Temple V

Located to the South of the Central Acropolis, this amazing temple is 57 meters high. Its North façade currently has excavations, it was built between 550-650 A.C. Its North face has been restored.

Temple VI

Also known as the Temple of the Inscriptions. It is located at the southern end of the Mández Roadway. Its crest has the longest hieroglyphic text in the entire Mayan City of Tikal. Stella 21 and Altar 9 are in front of this temple.

Roadways

There are five roadways detectable in Tikal. Apparently they were used as processional avenues.

Méndez

It begins at the East Square and goes to Temple N. It is almost one kilometer long.

Maler

It joins the North area with the East Square and is approximately 350 meters long. Close to the North Zone, on the roadway, there is a nice sculptured rock of the Late Classic period.

Maudslay

It joins Temple I with the North zone. It is almost 750 meters long.

Twin Pyramid Complexes

This name is given to groups of four big buildings, which are two truncated pyramids with stairways on each side, located to the East and West of the square; to the South there is a design with nine entrances and to the North the so-called Ground of the Stella.

Within this ground there is a stella with its corresponding altar, commonly carved. In front of the pyramid located at the East there are nine plain stellae with their altars, five of which can be seen. In Tikal there are seven of these complexes, which were built at intervals of twenty years to commemorate the end of each lasting period of 20 years.

Tozzer

It joins Temple IV with the West Square and is almost 250 meters long.

Morley

Located in the group Baringer, this roadway is perhaps 100 meters long. It doesn't show on the map.

Other Places Of Interest

Complex N

It is near Temple IV and was built in 711 A.C. It contains replicas of Stella 16 and Altar 5.

Complex O

It is located to the West of Complex R. It is the only one in the North ground that contains a plain stella and altar. It is considered to have been built in 731 A.C.

Group G

This group is on one side of the Méndez Roadway and is made up of various palace-type constructions with 29 chambers. The outer wall of the 5E-58 structure is adorned in the form of grooves. The entrance to this complex is through a vaulted tunnel. The entrance is the mouth of a mask.

Complex P

It is at the end of the Maudslay Roadway. It has copies of Stella 20 and Altar 8, and it also contains five plain stellae and altars.

Group F

This group is made up of four palace-type structures of the Late Classic period, partially consolidated. Nearby is the structure 5E-22, one of the two steam baths known in Tikal.

Complex Q

located to the East of Complex R. Stella 22 and Altar 10 are located here. It contains nine plain stellae and altars. It is partially restored, allowing a better idea of what constitutes this type of construction.

Maya History Archeology Ancient City Temples

Share this tip:

Written by Josue de Leon
Hi there! I am Josue, I work for a top rated travel agency for Central America. I love the Mayan world and exploring its Mayan ruins.

Thoughts? Questions?

See also

Accommodations

Tours and activities

Artisans of Antigua Guatemala Day Tour

This tour takes you to the villages surrounding Antigua Guatemala to live Mayan traditions. Learn about artistic textiles, jade production, chocolate, and antique towns.

Pacaya Volcano, Guatemala day tour

Looking for adventure? Visit the Pacaya Volcano in a 3-hour hike. Close to the summit, you can admire lava coming down from the volcano crater. You can either hike or ride a horse in the way up. At the top, the view is beautiful.

COVID-19 Information & Resources