Tikal, the ruins of Maya temples discovered in the Guatemalan rainforest in 1848, has been a longtime tourist attraction. The number of visitors increased, however, after George Lucas chose the location to film scenes from Star Wars in which the rebels fought the empire on planet Yavin 4.
The site was originally discovered when locals found human skulls with gemstone-studded teeth. Extending for over 200 square miles, Tikal's tall temples are surrounded by dense jungle. Tikal is one of the largest pre-Columbian Maya sites in the world.
In spite of scientists and scholars rejecting the interpretation of the Maya calendar that targets this Friday as the "End of Times," record numbers of visitors are flocking to the ruins this month, according to Reuters.
The Reuters article also disclosed information on the upcoming film in the franchise, Episode VII, to be made by Disney. Apparently, Yavin 4 reappears in the new film, though Reuters cites information from fans that those scenes will be filmed in a studio rather than in Guatemala.
Read the entire Reuters article here. Link
(Photo credit Mike McDonald/Reuters)