Tikal is one of the largest archaeological sites and urban centres of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization. It is located in the archaeological region of the PetÚn Basin in what is now modern-day northern Guatemala. Situated in the department of El PetÚn, the site is part of Guatemala's Tikal National Park and in 1979 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Tikal was the capital of a conquest state that became one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient Maya. Though monumental architecture at the site dates back as far as the 4th century BC, Tikal reached its apogee during the Classic Period, ca. 200 to 900 AD, during which time the city dominated much of the Maya region politically, economically, and militarily while interacting with areas throughout Mesoamerica, such as the great metropolis of Teotihuacan in the distant Valley of Mexico; there is evidence that Tikal was conquered by Teotihuacan in the 4th century AD.