Doomsday pilgrims ‘irreparably’ damage Mayan Temple in Guatemala

December 24, 2012

An ancient Mayan temple at a UNESCO World Heritage site in Guatemala has been damaged by tourists who came there for "end of the world" celebrations.

Over 7000 locals and tourists flocked to the area on December 21 to experience what could have been ‘the end of the world’ coinciding with the end of the Mayan calendar, or just another day.

"Sadly, many tourists climbed Temple II and caused damage," AFP quotes Osvaldo Gomez, a technical adviser at the historic site. "We are fine with the celebration, but [the tourists] should be more aware because this is a World Heritage Site," he told local media.

Although the official did not specify what particular damage was done to the ancient temple, he said it was irreparable. The 38 meters tall Temple II is one of the most famous Mayan buildings.

The tourists were attracted by a colorful traditional ceremony held by native Mayan priests as the sun emerged to mark the new era, AFP reports.

The ancient stone temple at Tikal is part of the major Mayan archaeological site, 560km north of Guatemala City. The temple was the center of the civilization’s social and political life. It is where Mayans held all their ceremonies and festivities.

 : Tourists wait for celebrations to start for the end of a 5200-year era in the Mayan Calendar in the Tikal archaeological site in Peten departament 560 km north of Guatemala city (AFP Photo / Hector Retamal): Tourists wait for celebrations to start for the end of a 5200-year era in the Mayan Calendar in the Tikal archaeological site in Peten departament 560 km north of Guatemala city (AFP Photo / Hector Retamal)
AFP Photo / Johan OrgonezAFP Photo / Johan Orgonez

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