December 21 didn't mark the end of the world, as many expected, but it did cause a stir around ancient Mayan sites.
Tourists gathered in Guatemala for the end of the world. The celebration ended up causing damage to the temple at Tikal. Travelers apparently climbed up the stone temple, in large numbers.
“Sadly, many tourists climbed Temple II and caused damage,” site technical rep Osvaldo Gomez says.
Tikal is among the largest archaeological sites that stand as a testament of Mayan culture and civilization. It is part of Guatemala's Tikal National Park, located in the department of El Petén, 550 kilometers (340 miles) from Guatemala City.
Built in the 4th century BC, Tikal has been protected by UNESCO since 1979.
“We are fine with the celebration, but (the tourists) should be more aware because this is a (UNESCO) World Heritage Site,” Gomez is quoted by Disclose saying.
Temple II, standing 38 meters (125 feet) tall, is one of the most recognizable structures on site. Tourists had been instructed not to climb the stairs of the temple; however, the situation proved hard to control. The curators describe the damage to the archaeological site as irreparable.
It appears 7,000 travelers spent the dreaded Apocalypse in Tikal. As we described before, December 21 marked the end of a cycle in the Mayan “Long Count” calendar. On day 188.8.131.52.0., according to said calendar, a cycle of creation was supposed to come to a halt.
The Mayans never specified the world would end on that day, and their provisions spanned over the years after 2012.
They believed in the Gucumatz gods, who they dubbed creators of all things living. The cycles of creation chronicle the evolution of mankind. According to Mayan mythology, human were first made out of mud; yet, they could not move or speak.
The gods recreated them out of wood, but could not give them a soul. They thought the gods arrived at the modern human form by making us out of maize or corn, their main food source at the time.