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The Maya civilization was a Mesoamerican civilization that existed 4000 years ago spanning across what is now Southern Mexico, Northern Belize and Gautemala. Its origin can be traced back to around 1800 BC. Maya is noted for its agricultural practices, pottery, hieroglyph script, calendar-making, astronomical studies and mathematics as well as for its maginificent sculptures and larger than life architecture.
Yet, many people do not know about this magnum opus. I have put together certain facts about the Mayans that will help you dwell more deeper into the history of Mayan civilization (and, not to mention, flaunt your knowledge in front of your pals). Let the tour begin.
The Maya civilization originated somewhere around 1800 BC by a Mesoamerican (Mexican+American or South American) ethnic group who called themselves The Mayans. It was spread across 125000 square miles of land covering the highlands and lowlands.
The Mayans were advanced people. They had developed their own hieroglyphic script which is the only fully developed writing system of the South American civilizations. The Mayans use symbols and numerals as a part of their writing system and could write full sentences using their language. This was considered a big achievement during those times.
The Maya civilization is especially known for their magnificent architecture. Huge stone pieces cut into intricate structures, delicately carved designs and large pyramids are the USP of Mayan architecture.
Tikal was a metropolis founded by Tikal Dynasty during the classic Mayan period (AD 250-900). The city was constantly at war due to inter-dynastic conflicts. At that time, the city had around 90,000 inhabitants and was a major commercial and cultural center.
The Kukulcan temple in the Chichen Itza, another city constructed during the conclusion of classic Maya period. Chichen Itza was one of the most important cities of Northern Maya region. The carvings on the Maya architecture mostly consists of the deities they worshiped.
Kalamkul, another major city during the classic Maya period. One important thing to note is that each city's architecture is slightly different than the other. This can be due to the evolution in the perception or needs of Mayans, according to which they planned their cities.
The decline of Maya civilization happened under mysterious circumstances. The exact reason for the decline of Maya remains unknown till date. However, some theories suggested that the Mayans had exploited the environment around them so much that they could not sustain anymore, some scholars state that the Spanish invasion during the post-classic Maya period led to the decline of this civilization. But these are mere theories. The real reason for Maya's decline still remains an unsolved mystery.