Guatemala – Ground of the trees
The name of Guatemala comes from the word Cuauhtemala, which means the “ground of the trees”. Just like the ceiba, the mythical tree of the Mayas, Guatemala has deep human roots going up at the beginning of times, of the millenia before the arrival of the Spaniards. The metaphor of the tree has still more to offer to us to include/understand this country host of the Mayas.
Guatemala has the particular characteristic to be exactly in the geographical center of the American continent. The country divides its borders with Mexico in north and the west, with Honduras and El El Salvador in the south, and finally with Belize in the North-East. Of a surface of 108 899 km2, the territory of Guatemala offers a primarily mountainous landscape. The volcanos which are drawn up at the horizon represent derechef the most spectacular elements of the country.
With its three million inhabitants, Ciudad of Guatemala, commonly called Guaté, is the vastest urban centre of Central America. Cosmopolitan nodal place, it posts a way of life vibrating of activities which Marie international manners with the customs of the traditional culture.
Museo Popol Vuh de Arqueología places in the cultural complex of the university campus Francisco Marroquín, in Ciudad of Guatemala. This splendid museum has a large collection of art précolombien and colonial as well as a copy of the codex of Dresden, one of the four Maya books writings in hiéroglyphes still preserved nowadays. Its visit will supplement that of Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología. The museum Popol Vuh draws its name from the crowned book of K’ iche’ discovered in Chichicastenango by the Dominican father Francisco Ximénez between 1701 and 1703. With the quantity of religious information, historical and linguistics which it contains, Popol Vuh, translated under the name of “Book of the Council”, is one of richest documents the being used for the study of the Maya people.
Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología is located in the park Aurora, in the southern part of the capital. The national museum indisputably has the largest collection of sculptures, of parts out of jade and ceramics of the Maya culture. The organization of the rooms takes as a starting point the colonial Spanish architecture, where all the parts were ordered around an interior court.
In the heart of the valley of Panchoy, where two small rivers run and which is surrounded of hills and the volcanos Fuego, Acatenango and Agua, Antigua Guatemala will seem to you a jewel of town planning and colonial architecture. In the east of Parks Central, the current parish church of San uses the first three spans of old Catedral Metropolitana, which was built between 1543 and 1680 and was rebuilt many times. The vestiges which you see today are those of the last rebuilding in accordance with the earthquake of Santa Marta in 1773.
Panajachel is presented as the door of entry for the majority of the travellers who come to venture in the area of Lago de Atitlán. This small city, located at the accesses of the lake, grows at sight of eye. With its many shops of craft industry, Panajachel will make the joy of the hunters of good occasions. On Calle Santander, you will discover the greatest selection of Guatemalan artisanal products and many restaurants and terraces.
Santiago Atitlán is the most important village tz’ utujil with the accesses of Lago de Atitlán. It extends on the sides from the volcanos Tolimán and Atitlán on an old lava flow. On the other side of bay, vis-a-vis at the village, rises the volcano San Pedro. As much the men whom the women carry their traditional clothes. The women are vêtues of huipiles white with some lines of red color and the embroidered birds. They wear also quoted of a long red fabric belt which they roll up around their head.
The town of Chichicastenango (commonly called Fuss) is certainly the borough more visited Highlands of Guatemala. Chichicastenango was built on the site of a founded kaqchikel city at the beginning of XVe century and that the documents call Chaviar Tzupitakah. Capital of Kaqchikel during their association with K’ iche’, it was abandoned in catastrophe in 1470, after the argument with K’ iche’.
For several tourists, Santa Lucía Cotzumalguapa draws its importance from the immense engraved stones which are disseminated in the surrounding plantations of cane with sugar and which one believed for a long time untransportable because of their weight. For those which are interested in the companies of before the Spanish Conquest, a halt with Santa Lucía Cotzumalguapa will enable them to discover sculptural vestiges which testify to the evolution of the occupants of the coast of the Pacific.
Declared “inheritance of humanity” by UNESCO in 1979, the old Maya city called today Quiriguá occupies an important place in the prehispanic history of the world. By its geographical situation, to forty kilometers to flight of bird of Copán, Quiriguá forms part, with the large town of Tikal, of the Maya cultural area which one calls the Lowlands of the South and whose center is in Petén. The Festival Folclórico Nacional de Cobán celebrates the traditions of the various ethnos groups of the area. Ritual various brotherhoods there are practised and, August 1, one carries out the folk dances like El Venado, and El Diablo y El Chompipe. It is also the time of famous El Paa Banc, that is to say the rite of transfer loads of administration of the brotherhoods, accompanied by religious ceremonies where the representatives of the people swear to maintain the ancestral faith and habits. It is one of the most important activities for Kekchí of the area. The procession of the Tezulutlán princess and Rabín Ajau, the queen of the traditional costume, is single in Cobán.
Tikal is essential without any doubt like one of the most attractive places of planet. Top of a pyramid, one is let rock by the flight the toucans, the cries envoûtants of the monkeys hurleurs and by the indefinable rustles of the jungle, which acts like a true speaker. Although this ceremonial center was abandoned more than one millenium ago, Tikal remains a temple one cannot more alive. Here, in front of the spectacle being offered to the sight, in the silence of the rise towards the heights and in the giddiness of the top reached, one cannot prevent oneself from entering in communion with the Mayas, even with very whole humanity. In Tikal, the Maya fact is indeed transcended; it carries us beyond the cultures and of the borders.