The first great Maya City

Monument to maya genius, El Mirador

An Early Maya City EL MIRADOR"

A city is part of a cultural system extending well beyond the city itself. No city can exist in isolation, but instead interacts with other cities, towns, villages, and hinterland populations for diverse foods, products, talents, skills, and knowledge. El Mirador was a city that required the best that a society had to give. Architects, engineers, craftsmen, astronomers, artists, priests, politicians, warriors, laborers, farmers, traders, and a huge supporting population had to be pulled together to create this magnificent metropolis. These elements came together by organization of a high order. Built more than 2,000 years ago, El Mirador covers at least 16 square kilometers in northern Guatemala.
It sits in a sea of forest.

El Mirador, was a Preclassic city! Covering 58,000 square meters, it gained its name because of its huge pyramid. This pyramid dominates the west of the city; its base covers 18,000 square meters.
Wood, burned to process lime mortar and stucco, was also abundant. Ferric oxide, a red pigment, was painted onto the stucco, to deter erosion. The red was considered ausppicoust. Blood was used by kings to assert their power.


El Mirador was home to tens of thousands. The Maya probably relied on intensively cultivated fields around outlying swamps. The city itself acted as a catchment for water, Several reservoirs have been found with lime layered on the bottom, to purify the water. El mirador still exists perhaps overrun by the forest. It was inexplicably abandoned and quietly reclaimed by jungle. The area is profoundly remote.

Apiece of the Maya puzzle, The characters,on the pottery reads "ahau", or Lord. El Mirador's most enduring exports were ideas. It was here that the template for Maya kingship and their world view was set for the next one thousand years.

  In Guatemala in a low range of hills are ancient Maya buildings of El Mirador. A once mighty metropolis, buried and forgotten for nearly two millennia.

The city first constructed by the Maya with the largest concentration of civic and religious buildings ever recorded in Maya lands. It served as the great metropolis of northern Guatemala and southern Mexico, where hundreds of other, smaller Maya ruins lie in the jungle.

A hidden city lies beneath jungle. From the air the Danta Complex appears as a massive hill whose top has been gashed by erosion. Other hills conceal other Maya structures. It reveals a pyramid and its underlying structure. EL Mirador was discovered in 1926, but remained uncharted by archaeologists until 1962.

Probes have shown that below their covering, the ancient buildings are in a remarkable state of preservation. Findings have challenged long held views. El Mirador, because of its great size and elaborateness,belonged to the Maya Classic period, from AD 250 to 900. One pyramid, Tigre, is probably the largest ever built by the Maya. It soars 18 stories high.

ELMIRADOR rose more than a century before Christ; it declined, for unknown reasons, about A. D, 150. Later the site was occupied by the Classic Maya, whose splendid civilization ranged through Middle America from Mexico into Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador. But in the ninth century AD the Classic Maya also vanished in this area, and their abandoned monuments yielded to the jungle. The Maya built complex networks of trade routes and canals and developed advanced farming methods that relied on efficient management of soil and water. Their achievements in astronomy allowed them to count millions of years into the past or the future; they devised ancient America's most sophisticated writing system; their mathematics employed the zero notation.

Cerro Chepen


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