The 12 Best Mayan Sites to See in Guatemala – Fodor’s Travel

Unlike the famous ancient cities of Tikal and El Mirador in the northeast, this capital of the Kaqchikel Maya was brought down not by the ravages of deforestation and drought but by the consequences of the Spanish conquest in the early 16th century. Fifty years after Iximches founding, despite an early alliance with the conquistadors, the city was burned to the ground. Standing in ruins for four hundred years, Iximche once again became a center of Maya activity in the 1980s, first as a meeting place for a declaration to defend Indigenous rights during the Guatemalan Civil War, then in a ritual to re-establish the site as a sacred place for Indigenous ceremonies. While the site is open to visitors, many of those who come to Iximche are Indigenous people, including Maya priests (or daykeepers), on religious pilgrimages to this ancestral place.

INSIDER TIPTo Maya people, Iximche is a sacred site, not a tourist attraction, even when the tourist is a major world leader. After President George W. Bush visited in 2007, spiritual leaders purified the site of the bad spirits he had attracted through his administrations persecution of undocumented Guatemalan migrants in the U.S.

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The 12 Best Mayan Sites to See in Guatemala - Fodor's Travel

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