Hinterland Green

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Mirador, Guatemala: The Forgotten Mayan City

El Mirador flourished as a trading center from around 300 BCE to 150 CE during the Maya Pre-Classic Period. With a population as high as 80,000, it was one of the first large cities in North America. The city's main group of buildings covers two square kilometers and many were built on a grand scale. The largest pyramid at El Mirador, El Tigre, has six times the surface area as Temple IV at Tikal and is 55 meters tall.

The Danta Complex is about 300 meters wide on each side of the bottom base, which is 7 meters high and supports a series of buildings. The next and smaller platform rises another 7 meters. Above that is another platform around 21 meters high, which is topped off by three pyramids, the tallest of which is 21 meters high. The total height is 70 meters, making it taller than Temple IV at Tikal.

El Mirador was a pre-Columbian site whose existence began from the movement of people from Nakbé to what was then an area of shallow lakes and more water availability. It is two days on foot in the Petén Jungle from the nearest village, although there is now helicopter service that is not unthinkably expensive. Currently there is a project called the Mirador Basin National Park, whose objective is to form a major national park in the area, where archaeological excavation will be done and tourists also can share in the discoveries about the Maya civilization. This will be done with the help of the Guatemalan government and interested individuals. A long term plan would include narrow gauge train service. Source: Mostlymaya.com
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