Guatemala_1828 - La Danta at the Mayan site of El Mirador
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I took a helicopter ride to reach this site, a cost of $700 US and was told I was among the first 1000 people to visit the place. As you can see the site is covered in rain forest. It use to take two days on a donkey to reach the site and two days back. It was expensive but a highlight of my life.
View of La Danta pyramid, it is the largest Maya temple ever built. The temple reaches 79 metres (259 ft) high, and with a volume of 2,800,000 cubic meters, it is one of the largest pyramids, if not the largest, in the world. I climbed to the top and had to use a rope to pull myself up at times, no steps at that time. La Danta is considered by some archeologists to be one of the most massive ancient structures in the world.
In 2003, Dr. Richard D. Hansen, a Senior Scientist from Idaho State University, initiated major investigation, stabilization, and conservation programs at El Mirador with a multi-disciplinary approach, including staff and technical personnel from 52 universities and research institutions from throughout the world.
El Mirador flourished from about the 6th century BC, reaching its height from the 3rd century BC to the 1st century AD, with a population of perhaps more than a hundred thousand people. It then experienced a hiatus of construction and perhaps abandonment for generations, followed by re-occupation and further construction in the Late Classic era, and a final abandonment about the end of the 9th century. The civic center of the site covers some 10 square miles (26 km2) with several thousand structures, including monumental architecture from 10 to 30 meters high.