The ancient Maya city of Tikal, in modern-day Guatemala, flourished between roughly 600 B.C. and A.D. 900. Starting out as a modest series of hamlets, it would become a great Maya city-state with more than two dozen major pyramids.
Featuring majestic limestone pyramids that lie deep with the Peten jungle of northern Guatemala, the ancient Mayan ruins of Tikal are what is left of what was once one of the most powerful city states in the Americas, according to an article by David Roberts in "Smithsonian" magazine. Now one of the country's prime tourist destinations and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the palaces, temples and plazas of Tikal have been partially excavated and designated a national park by the Guatemalan government. Visitors to the park can explore the Mayans' ancient ball courts, learn about the complex cosmology of this civilization and even climb the pyramids and look out over the jungle.