El Mirador

El Mirador flourished as a trading center from around 800 BCE to 150 CE during the Maya Pre-Classic Period. With a population as large 200,000, it was one of the first large cities in North America. The city’s main group of buildings covers two square kilometers and many were built on a grand scale.

El MiradorThere are a number of “triadic” structures (around 35 structures), consisting of large artificial platforms topped with a set of 3 summit pyramids. The most notable such structures are three huge complexes; First The largest pyramid at El Mirador, El Tigre, has six times the surface area as Temple IV at Tikal with height 55 metres (180 ft); the other is called “La Danta” (or Danta) temple.The Danta Complex is about 300 meters wide on each side of the bottom base, which is 7 meters high and supports a series of buildings. The next and smaller platform rises another 7 meters. Above that is another platform around 21 meters high, which is topped off by three pyramids, the tallest of which is 21 meters high. The total height is 70 meters, making it taller than Temple IV at Tikal. The La Danta temple measures approximately 70 metres (230 ft) tall from the forest floor, and considering its total volume (2,800,000 cubic meters) is one of the largest pyramids in the world. When the large man-made platform that the temple is built upon (some 18,000 square meters) is included in calculations, La Danta is considered by some archeologists to be one of the most massive ancient structures in the world,and the heighest pyramid in the world. Also the “Los Monos” complex is very large (48 meters high) although not as well known. Most of the structures were originally faced with cut stone which was then decorated with large stucco masks depicting the deities of Maya mythology. According to Carlos Morales-Aguilar, a Guatemalan archaeologist, the city appears to have been planned from its foundation, as extraordinary alignments have been found between the architectural groups and main temples, which were possibly related to solar alignments. The study reflects an importance of urban planning and sacred spaces since the first settlers.

An additional feature of El Mirador is the quantity and size of causeways, internally linking important architectural compounds, and externally linking the numerous major ancient cities within the Mirador Basin during the latter part of the Middle and Late Preclassic periods. The causeways were known anciently as sacbeob These are raised stone white causeways raising 2 to 6 meters above the level of the surrounding landscape and measuring from 20 to 50 meters wide. One sacbe links El Mirador to the neighbouring site of Nakbe, while another joined El Mirador to El Tintal,there is evidence that causeways
are linked to the Maya Site’s like Wakna and the recently discovered sites of Xulnal and El Pesquero,and the extremely large one Naachtun

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