"North Acropolis, Central Acropolis" Top 5 Page for this destination Parque Nacional Tikal Things to Do Tip by toonsarah

Parque Nacional Tikal Things to Do: 178 reviews and 340 photos

  Temple I with North Acropolis in foreground
by toonsarah

The whole of the north side of the Grand Plaza is occupied by the collection of buildings known as the North Acropolis. Unfortunately this is the point on our tour where I began to run out of steam (a combination of the longest walk I?d done in over a year, and the heat of the midday sun), so I didn?t explore as fully as I might have done ? and as I now wish I had done, of course!

The North Acropolis area was built and occupied over a period of time, beginning in the Preclassic Period around 350 BC, as demonstrated by more than a dozen successive construction levels set one on top of the other. It developed into a funerary complex for the ruling dynasty of the Classic Period, with tombs and temples being added for each royal burial, some on top of older structures. A large number of stelae and altars were erected around the site, and many are still in situ, protected by little thatch roofs, although others have been moved to the on-site museum (see separate tip). Various tombs have been excavated here, including those of Huh Chaan Mah K?ina (or Curl Nose) and of K?awil Chaan (Stormy Sky) and members of the nobility such as a woman from about 100 BC, buried with several paintings, jade, and other rich items.

The North Acropolis is also important archaeologically because it contains evidence of the first settlers in Tikal, who came to the area about 800 BC. Studies have revealed that along with the foundations of the Lost World, those of the North Acropolis are the most ancient areas where the first settlers of Tikal established themselves.

Facing the North Acropolis across the Grand Plaza is the smaller Central Acropolis, a complex of residential and administrative palaces where the Royal Family of Tikal and their relatives lived. It consists of 45 buildings and 6 courtyards, linked by passages and stairways. Many of the chambers contain built-in beds of rock, over which skins and mats were placed to make comfortable beddings, and their stone doorways have holes where curtains would have been hung, for privacy and/or warmth.

Directions: On the two longer sides of the Grand Plaza

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Jan 5, 2011
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