These are photos from the Mayan city, Tikal, in Guatemala.  The view in the first photo is straight up into a Ceiba tree.  Its branches are covered with bromeliads (air plants) that live in every nook and cranny in Central America.  We only visited a very small part of Tikal; our guide said it would take 3 to 4 days to see all that has been uncovered, and there is much, much more that is still covered by the jungle.  It is thought that over 75,000 people lived in Tikal at one time.

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The Ceiba tree was very significant to the Mayans who believed that a Ceiba connect earth and heaven and that spirits ascended to heaven by climbing vines that hung from it branches.

This is the east plaza; I think we were standing on the central acropolis. The buildings at Tikal are a combination of ceremonial, governmental, and living spaces (as far as is known).

Another view of the east plaza.

The architecture is very three dimensional -- throughout the site there are many levels with stairs and winding alleys leading from place to place.

A view of Temple V as seen from the Central Acropolis. We were standing several stories up in what seemed to be a multi-story apartment building.

That's me; I really was there!

In the center background is Temple I, a solid, pyramidal ceremonial structure, in which a king was buried. Part of the North Acropolis is visible in the left far background. In the foreground are more of the buildings with many rooms -- note the Mayan arches.

This is very similar to the previous view but from a slightly different angle. Some people in the bottom of the frame give some sense of proprotion, which is difficult to make out in pictures.

We have moved around the foreground buildings from the previous 2 shots. You can see the great plaza to the left of Temple I. Under the tree on the left there is a ceremony being performed by modern Mayans. The thatch roofs protect carvings.

This is one of the carvings under a thatched roof (the rear-most one from the previous photo). It is the face of a king, which was very common on the front of temples, although often built-over by subsequent generations.

At the base of Temple IV, which is still covered by the jungle. Stairs (nearly ladders) allow visitors to ascend 70 meters to the top that remains exposed from the vegetation.

A view to the south from the top of Temple IV. There is another temple tucked into the center. The forest here is quite tall, so a view like this is unusual and magnificent.

This view is one of the most popular photos at Tikal. It is taken from the top of Temple IV, facing east back toward the great plaza. Temple I, II, and V are visible.

Nancy pauses in the North Acropolis with Temple I in the background. Temple I is no longer open for visitors to climb, the stairs are too dangerous. Temple II at the other end of the great plaza has had its steps rebuilt and quite a few people climb up.

Ocellated turkeys wander freely in the forest. This is near the path that leads from the museum and parking lot. I think I can still hear the marimba band that played near the entrance.