Tikal was one of the maya capitals. Tikal is one of the Maya ruins that has supplied researchers with abundant information. So much so, in fact, that a large museum has been erected at the site to house ceramics, jade carvings, hardwood carvings and more than 100,000 tools, objects of worship and other decorations.
The largest known Mayan city, Tikal is believed to have been home to more than 55,000 people in the year 700. The 60-square-mile site holds numerous pyramids, shrines, and ball courts, where Mayans played a sometimes dangerous version of soccer, reportedly using as balls human skulls, which could do serious damage if kicked into an opponent.
In the mid-1400s, Mayapán, a vast and powerful Maya political center in Yucatán, was destroyed by a violent revolt spurred by fear of Aztec mercenaries living in the city. Mayapán was the last great capital to fall--a seminal event in the Maya world.
Another Capital: Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza was a Mayan capital, but late in the 10th century it is believed that the area fell under the dominion of the Toltecs, a powerful tribe from central Mexico. Chichen Itza which means "at the mouth of the well of Itza ", is the 2nd most visited archeological site of Mexico today. The Kukulkan Pyramid in Chichen-Itza which known as "El Castillo" (the castle), is one of the new Seven Wonders of the World elected in 07.07.2007.
Chichen Itza, not only has one of the best preserved and rebuilt pyramids of the Mayan world, El Castillo, but it is home to many other impressive groups. The Temple of the Warriors that houses the famous Chaac-Mool, where heads used to roll, is located amidst the group of 1,000 columns, Kodak must love this place. Bring film and some more film.
Few late maya or Itza archaeological sites have been related to there historical counterparts. Carmack's (1973) and Quiche studies and Guillemin's (1965) work at lximche represent recent progress in such correlations within the highland maya area.
The Maya capital from the 400s to the 800s, Copan is one of the largest and most impressive of all the Maya centers discovered so far. It consists of pyramids, temples and 21 stone pillars, or stelae, with exquisite carved likenesses of ancient Copan kings. The ancient city of Copan was the capital of a major Mayan kingdom from the 5th to 9th centuries AD.
Copan was known for its advancements in arts and astronomy and is famous for its beautiful decorated buildings and sculptures. Copan is the archeological city located south of the whole geographic area, and it is where the great Mayan Civilization developed and flourished. (The area is 325,000 square kilometers and comprises the southeastern part of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and part of El Salvador).
San Jose de Copan, situated one kilometer from the principal group of ruins in this archeological zone, is a modern town which was founded during the last century and at present is called "COPAN RUINS", or "RUINAS DE COPAN". It has a population of about 3,000 inhabitants and has a decidedly colonial aspect.