A new centre dedicated to research and the preservation of the Mayan cultural heritage has been officially inaugurated at Tikal National Park in the Peten district of Northern Guatemala.
This new centre is the result of the joint efforts of the Guatemalan ministry of culture and sports and the government of Japan, who financed the project through its International Cooperation Agency.
In total Japan invested around US$6.5 million dollars.
The Guatemalan government contributed US$73,000 to the construction of the centre.
“Peten is one of the most important archaeological sites in the country and it is very important that we preserve findings from this and other sites,” said Rosa Maria Chan, deputy minister of culture.
“Besides, this new building is environmentally friendly and will be powered by solar energy.”
The new centre has a laboratory, cellar, a documentation centre and an exhibition room, besides other interactive spaces where visitors can learn about Mayan culture, and the process of preserving archaeological findings.
There are around 50 exhibits at the moment, mostly ceramics and stucco reliefs.
More objects from Peten and other archaeological sites in Guatemala will be added to the collection in future.
Besides, the construction of this new centre will allow the development of more conservation and research programmes.
Tikal National Park, set in the heart of the Guatemalan jungle, is one of the most important Mayan archaeological sites, declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1979.
Its 1,600 hectares contain the remains of the ancient Mayan city of Tikal, the largest known from the Classical Period.
The city had its heyday between 200 and 900BC, dominating the political, economic and military scene for much of the Mayan world.