The Mayan Aguateca Archaeological Center is located in the department of Pétain, in Guatemala. Aguateka is the ruins of the ancient Mayan city, they are located on a high, natural origin, plateau, on the shore of Lake Peteshbatun.
The first settlements on this site appeared in the middle of the III century AD. In the 7th century, Aguateca became one of the two capitals, along with the city of Dos Pilas. At that time, several thousand people lived in it. Around 830, the last of the rulers of the Tang Te 'Kinich dynasty hid in Aguatek from enemy attacks with his family and nobility. After the city was captured by the enemy, the ruler fled.
The ruins of the city were discovered in 1957. As residents left the city in a hurry, archaeologists were able to find a lot of clothes, utensils, jewelry.
Of all the city buildings, the central square with the stele located on it, the Ceremonial complex and the palace are best preserved.
Location: Peten, Guatemala
Coordinates: N 16.38751900, east -90.22917100
The ruins of the city of Aguateka are located on a hilltop in the southernmost part of the Peteshbatun lagoon. The ancient city, surrounded by rocks and divided by a gorge, has long been an impregnable stronghold (including during the war with neighboring Seibal), until 735 AD, if you believe the inscription carved on a stone stele. Aguateki is easiest to reach from Sayaxche.
It is authentically known that the local rulers from Dos Pilas left Aguatek and moved to an even better fortified city, to which they gave the same name. It happened around the year 761. Subsequently, the weakened city was easily conquered by unknown invaders in about 790 AD. Dating was carried out according to the arrowheads and skeletons of defenders and attackers found during archaeological excavations. Soon after, Aguateca was finally abandoned.
A five minute walk from the marina is a visitor center. For a small amount, you can arrange an hour and a half tour of the ancient ruins. The buildings of two main architectural groups were well restored: the Palace Group (Grupo del Palacio - the palace complex in which the ruler of the city-state lived), and the Main Square (Plaza Mayor, located south of the palace complex). Unfortunately, the steles with the figures of local rulers carved on them did not survive, but fiberglass copies of the original steles were installed on the square, whose remains are lying nearby. Two architectural groups are interconnected by a bulk road passing through the gorge.
On the north side of the center for visitors is a cliff with a viewing platform, which offers good views of the rivers and wetlands east of the ancient city. Beyond the cliff, the road deviates to the left and goes to the bottom of the gorge, after which there is about a hundred meters between two almost sheer limestone walls and again "climbs" up the hill to the Palace Group. Having passed through the palace complex, you will return to the entrance to the city. Turning to the right side at the bottom of the complex, you will find yourself on an unmade road above the gorge (here the depth of the gorge is about 70 meters) leading to the Main Square. From Sayashce to Aguateki can be reached by boat on the river Peteshbatun. The journey will take approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Photo and description
In the abandoned city of Aguateca there are important archaeological sites of the Mayan civilization. Aguateca is a unique place where you can find mysterious cliffs and vast plains of amazing beauty. The hillfort spreads at a 90-meter height of limestone rock.
The ruins of Aguateca - one of the best preserved in Guatemala, belong to the late classical period. The time of prosperity fell on 600 AD - 830 AD, when the city was the capital of the ruler of the fifth dynasty Dos Pilas / Aguateka. In 810 A.D. the city was attacked, most of the elite residential buildings were abandoned and burned, but personal belongings remained untouched, and they made up a collection of artifacts discovered over many centuries.
The center has traditionally been the residence of the highest nobility and the ceremonial core of the city, protected by dams, steep slopes and a picket fence on a stone wall. Buildings inside the elite zone are made of stone blocks and gypsum mortar. Artifacts found in these structures include greenstone beads, shells and bone ornaments, high-quality plain ceramic dishes.
In the area of embankment dams, along which the area of residence of high society was connected with the rest of the city, flat plates were found used for manual grinding of cereals and seeds, petrified bones and traces of skin - parts of tools. Researchers believe that representatives of the ruling caste of Aguatek were directly engaged in handicraft, and workshops were located on dams.
Aguateca is not the most accessible place for tourists, but traveling here is half the pleasure. The ruins are located in the picturesque Peteshbatun basin in the Peten department. The boat trip will take from one to one and a half hours. Walking past the rocks, you can admire the stunning views.
Thanks to the rich fauna and flora and the well-preserved ruins of ancient Mayan civilization, the Peten region has been declared by UNESCO a cultural and natural heritage of mankind.