There are three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Guatemala. Two are cultural and Tikal National Park is a mixed site.
- Antigua Guatemala (1979)
- Archaeological Park and Ruins of Quirigua (1981)
- Tikal National Park (1979)
Antigua Guatemala (1979)
The historic city of Antigua in Guatemala was built in the early 16th century at an earthquake-prone zone. Under the Spanish crown, the city was named as capital of the Captaincy-General of Guatelama. When an earthquake hit the city in 1773, it badly damaged most of the town including some of the beautiful colonial architecture. But for those that survived the earthquake, adding it to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Guatemala will hopefully preserve the ruins and monuments that survived.
As compared to the other Mayan civilizations in South America, Quirigia was relatively smaller and younger. But the archaeological park ruins in Guatemala were recognized as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Guatemala due to the impressive sculpture work found in the park. Most of these sculptures were carved out from stones of various sizes. These sculptures also depict mythological animals that also provided a glimpse into the beliefs of the early Mayans that lived in the area.
Tikal National Park (1979)
This is the only mixed site that was included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Guatemala. It is the largest city of the Mayan civilization that dated back to 2,000 years ago. There are over a thousand structures that relate to the Mayan civilization within the park but archaeologists believed that they have uncovered only a fraction of what the Mayans truly left behind. Among those excavated in the site included temples, pyramids, plazas, and palaces, among others.