Tikal - The Mayan Metropolis
Central Pyramids
As the model shows, Tikal was the Maya Manhattan, larger,
richer, and more powerful than any other Maya city-state.  
Tikal had more pyramids than its rivals, and the tallest
pyramid.   All this in the middle of the jungle.
We start with the two pyramids facing each other at the
front left of the model.
The Temple of the Grand Jaguar is the burial site of the
Mayan king with my favorite name, Lord Chocolate.  He
ruled at the beginning of the 8th century, and is credited
with both building this temple and greatly increasing
Tikal's military strength.  Under repair, the temple was
unfortunately closed to climbers.  
This jade mask, uncovered at Tikal,
may have been worn by Lord Chocolate.
Directly across the Great Plaza from Lord Chocolate's
Temple is the Temple of the Masks, presented here in  
wide angle.  My best vertical photo, featuring the
stairs, can be seen by clicking
Here.  This was the first
Mayan pyramid I had the opportunity to climb!
Going up can be tough on kids, but
my own ascent was quite easy.
From the summit of the Temple of the Masks here is
Tikal's Great Plaza.  At the top of this picture is the
base of the Temple of the Grand Jaguar.  The pair of
facing pyramids remains a Tikal trademark.  To the
left, Tikal's Central Acropolis is a ruin.  Then I
learned that going down the stairs of a Mayan
pyramid required far more caution than climbing up.  
If you have a high speed internet connection, watch the
Intrepid Berkeley Explorer's free video of this trip to Central
America and Mexico by clicking on: