El Mirador in GuatemalaFriday, 6 May 2016
My recent travels in Central America (Panama) and the Caribbean (Cuba) started with a visit to Guatemala. Wearing my Global Heritage Fund archaeology hat I flew by helicopter to El Mirador, the remote Mayan site south of Flores and Tikal and close to the border with Mexico.
◄ The site’s iconic La Danta pyramid is claimed to be the biggest pyramid in the Mayan world by volume.
If you don’t travel by helicopter getting to El Mirador means a long trek through the rainforest of the Maya Biosphere Reserve. From a helicopter it’s remark- able how dense and continuous that jungle is, you certainly wouldn’t want to have to make an emergency landing. ▼
▲ Mayan temples are often surrounded by jungle and at many of the great Mayan sites the temples seem to pop up out of a sea of green. At El Mirador, however, only the tops of a couple of temples manage to make it up above the jungle canopy. La Danta is one of them, here a sliver of the temple summit is visible from El Tigre, the second highest El Mirador pyramid and a popular place for viewing the sunset.
◄ Restoration work has barely commenced on many of the El Mirador sites, there’s little to indicate that the Leon Pyramid is anything other than a natural formation.