Classic Maya culture developed in three regions in
Mesoamerica. By far the most complete urban developments were in
the lowlands in the
"central region" of southern Guatemala. This region is
a drainage basin about sixty miles long and twenty miles wide and
covered by tropical rain forest.
are only one of two peoples to develop an urban culture in a tropical
The principal city in this region wasTikal.
The most Southern Mayan city was Copan in northern Honduras.
In the Guatemalan highlands to the north, Mayan culture developed
less fully. The highlands seem to have been the main suppliers
of raw materials to the central urban centers.
A very large center is
other major region of Mayan growth was the Yucatan peninsula making
up the northern and eastern portions of modern-day Guatemala. This
is a dry region but city centers were built including Chichen
Itza and Uxmal (pronounced "Oosh-mal")
After the Classic Mayan cities were abandoned, the Yucatán
peninsula became the main region of a new, culture called Toltec-Mayan
which was formed when Toltecs coming from the north mixed with the
native Maya peoples