Parque Arqueológico Kaminaljuyú

Archaeological Site in Guatemala City

Containing remnants of one of the first important cities in the Maya region, this park is just west of 23a Av and is some 4km west of the city center. At its peak, from about 400 BC to AD 100, ancient Kaminaljuyú had thousands of inhabitants and scores of temples, and probably dominated much of highland Guatemala.

Large-scale carvings found here were the forerunners of Classic Maya carving, and Kaminaljuyú had a literate elite before anywhere else in the Maya world. The city fell into ruin before being reoccupied around AD 400 by invaders from Teotihuacán in central Mexico, who rebuilt it in Teotihuacán's talud-tablero style, with buildings stepped in alternating vertical (tablero) and sloping (talud) sections. Unfortunately, most of Kaminaljuyú has been covered by urban sprawl: the archaeological park is but a small portion of the ancient city, and even here the remnants consist chiefly of grassy mounds. To the left from the entrance is La Acrópolis, where you can inspect excavations of a ball court and talud-tablero buildings from AD 450 to 550.

A couple of hundred meters south of the entrance and across the road are two burial statues from the Late Preclassic era. They're badly deteriorated, but are the only examples of carving left at the site – the best examples have been moved to the Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología.

A taxi from Zona 1 costs around Q50.