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Tikal

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Tikal is the largest of the ancient ruined cities of the Maya. It is located in the Peten region of Guatemala.

Tikal was one of the major cultural and population centers of the Maya civilization. It flourished mainly in the Maya Classic Period[?], approximately 200 AD to 850 AD, after which no new major monuments were built, some of the palaces of the elite were burned, and the population gradually declined until the site was abandoned by the end of the 10th century. The name "Tikal" means "Place of Voices" or "Place of Tounges" in Maya, which may be an ancient name for the city, although the ancient heiroglyphs usually refer to it as Mutal or Yax Mutal.

Scholars estimate that at its peak, it had a population from 100,000 to 200,000. Prominent surviving buildings include six very large pyramidal temples and the royal palace, in addition to a number of smaller pyramids, palaces, residences, and inscribed stones. The residential area of Tikal covers an estimated 60 km 2 (23 square miles), much of which has not yet been cleared or excavated.

As is often the case with particularly huge ancient ruins, knowledge of the site was never completely lost in the region, and some second or third hand accounts and mentions of Tikal appeared in print starting in the 17th century, and continuing through the writings of John Lloyd Stephens in the early 19th century. Due to the sites remoteness from any modern towns, however, no scientific expedition visited Tikal until 1848. Several other expeditions came to further investigate, map, and photograph Tikal in the 19th and early 20th century. In 1951 a small airstrip was built at the ruins, which previously could only be reached by several days travel through the jungle on foot or mule. From 1956 through 1970 major archeological excavations were made by the University of Pennsylvania. In 1979 the Guatemalan government began a further archeological project at Tikal, which continues to this day.

The ruins of Tikal is a World Heritage Site and can be visited by the public.

It was used as background scenery of the Rebel Base in the film Star Wars.


Tikal is also the name of a very popular female charecter in Sega's Sonic the hedgehog[?] series



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