The ancient city of Tikal was officially discovered in 1848 after the Guatemalan government ordered an expedition be sent out. Tikal is a major Mayan civilization site located in the Petén district of Northern Guatemala. This archaeological complex contains 3,000 buildings and spans about 16 square kilometers.
The city was a major commercial and ceremonial center for the Maya. Researchers have determined that Tikal’s original settlers arrived around the year 800 B.C. By 900 A.D., the Maya World had collapsed and Tikal was no longer inhabited. In 1979, Tikal became a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.