The most populous country of Central America - Guatemala - shares borders with Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador and Belize. Its western coast is washed by the Pacific Ocean, and eastern - by the Caribbean Sea. Most rivers of Guatemala are almost not navigable. Few lakes attract tourists with exceptional scenery against background of volcanoes, water transparency and legends. Tropical forests occupy the north of the country, and most people prefer to live in central and southern highlands. To the south, they grow coffee - the main commercial crops. Today, Guatemala is a quite, poor and backward agrarian country, but its history is full of turbulent events, ups and crises. In the III-IX th centuries BC, a highly developed civilization of the Maya flourished on its territory. By the way, 45% of the country’s population still speak Mayan language, and quetzal - a sacred bird of the ancient Maya empire - remains a national symbol of the state. In the 20-ies of XVI th century Spanish conquistadors, who conquered local population came to these lands. Up to 1821, Guatemala was a Spanish colony, then, was a member of the Federation of Central America for few years, and in 1839 has declared its independence. During the twentieth century the country experienced a series of coups and military dictatorships. Only in 1986 a civilian government came to power in Guatemala,. Not far from the capital, which also bears the name of Guatemala, are ruins of ancient Mayan cities with temples, pyramids, palaces, the Acropolises and steles, covered with inscriptions and reliefs. The Indian market of Chichicastenango, the St. Jose Cathedral, El Ceibal, the Hill of the Dead are also very interesting. Please yourself with listening to folk music played on marimba - a kind of xylophone.
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