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Temple IV in Tikal.

Temple IV or of the Serpent doubleheaded, Tikal. Guatemala.

Also known as the Temple of the Serpent Doubleheaded, Guatemala’s biggest attraction constitutes one of the most emblematic structures of the Mayan civilization. The temple was built during the reign of Yik’in Chan Ka’wil, the number 27 ruler of the city dynasty around 741 D. This ruler’s victories over other kingdoms located to the east and west of Tikal allowed him to retake dominion over the region to transform the city into one of the most powerful and important centers of the classic Mayan era. Yik’in achieved the construction of new palaces and the expansion of others in the central area of this archeological site. His greatest efforts were aimed at redesigning his real capital by building the causeways that connect the different ceremonial precincts each marked by a temple.

This 70-metre-high temple was used for various ritual ceremonies of the Mayan civilization and is the most frequented within the Tikal National Park, where visitors can climb up and admire from the top incredible landscapes. It is the highest building in the classic Mayan world and arouses the interest of many tourists by the privileged views that offers from its peak both the archaeological site and the natural world that is located in the surroundings of the city. The base of support was the main entrance to the temple and has a staircase on the east side of 46 meters long. The pyramid itself is made up of seven staggered bodies whose plant is rectangular in shape. The temple also has a rectangular floor and consists of three chambers at different levels. The beams of the middle and rear chambers are profusely carved with scenes from the life of Yik’in Chan Ka’wi.

The name of the Temple of Serpent doubleheaded appears to be associated with a deity found carved in one of these beams.

The park is open from Monday to Sunday from 6:00 to 18:00 hours. The entry has a cost of Q 25.00 for nationals and Q 150.00 for foreigners.