Tikal Temples

There are many structures to visit in Tikal National Park and even more are buried under the ground, yet to be excavated.

At the center of the site lies the Great Plaza bordered by two temple pyramids, the North Acropolis and the Central Acropolis.

Temple I

Temple I is located in the middle of Tikal National Park. It is also known as the Temple of the Great Jaguar. Ah, Cacao(Lord Chocolate) also known as Jasaw Chan K’awiil I, one of Tikal’s greatest rulers is buried here and is mainly associated with this temple.

It was during his time (AD 682–734) that it was built. The temple has a height of 47 meters and was excavated between 1955 and 1964.

Tikal Temple I
Tikal Temple I by Nick Leonard

Temple II

Temple II, also known as the Temple of the Masks is one of the best-restored temples in Tikal. Standing at 38 meters in height, it was built by the same Jasaw Chan K’awiil I in honor of his wife, Lady Kalajuun Une’ Mo’.

Tikal Temple II
Tikal Temple II by brongaeh

Temple III

Also known as the Temple of the Jaguar Priest, Temple III was an important temple pyramid of Tikal. It was built around 810 AD and stands 55 meters high. Most probably this temple is the funerary home of King Dark Sun.

Tikal Temple III
Tikal Temple III by Dennis Jarvis

Temple IV

No journey to Tikal is complete without a daring ascent to the peak of Temple IV, thought to be the tallest edifice erected by the ancient Maya.

Visitors used to scramble up this partially restored pyramid’s slippery sides holding on to roots and branches. Fortunately, new wooden stairs make the long climb much easier.

A climber’s huffing and puffing is well rewarded – views from the top of the 65-meter-high structure are nothing short of mystical. From here the Guatemalan jungle is broken only by the other temples of Tikal, rising above the trees.

Tikal Temple IV
Tikal Temple IV by Antti T. Nissinen

Temple V

Temple V is the second-highest structure in Tikal and in pre-colonial America. It stands 57 meters (187 feet) high. From its roof, you see other temples poking through the trees.

Tikal Temple V
Tikal Temple V by Guillermo

Temple VI

Known as the Temple of the Inscriptions, this temple has a 12-meter-high roof comb. It was discovered in 1951 only.

Tikal Temple VI
Tikal Temple VI by Greg Willis

There are plenty of other temples in Tikal National Park and it is estimated that only 30% of these have been excavated.

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