Two tourists are caught defacing 1,300-year-old Mayan temple by carving their initials into the wall
- Vandals were photographed scribbling on a temple in the ancient city of Tikal
- The temple is located near the modern-day city of Flores in northern Guatemala
- UNESCO declared the national park it sits in a world heritage site in 1979
- Guatemalan law imposes hefty fines for defacing the country’s monuments
Two tourists have been caught carving their initials into the wall of a 1,300-year-old Mayan temple in Guatemala.
The tourists were caught carving ‘A + T’ onto the wall of the Tikal Temple II pyramid in the ancient city of Tikal, one of the largest archaeological Mayan sites in Mesoamerica.
Located near the present-day city of Flores in the northern Guatemalan department of Peten, Tikal was founded in 732 AD.
The image shows the ‘A+T’ the two vandals etched on the Mesoamerican structure near the present-day city of Flores in Guatemala. Authorities have said they will hold the tourists accountable for the damage
The Tikal II temple in Guatemala, pictured, which has stood since 732 AD, sits on a site awarded the UNESCO world heritage title in 1979
Image shows one of the vandals who carved his initials on the 1,300-year-old Mayan temple in modern-day Guatemala
Tikal Temple II is part of Guatemala’s Tikal National Park and in 1979 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The tourists were spotted carving into the ancient stone by Vinicio Alba Ruiz who said they became upset when he told them off. Their names and origin are unclear.
Alba Ruiz wrote on Facebook: ‘I found them carving on the walls of Temple II. When I asked what they were doing they got upset and seemed offended. If you come to this site you have to respect the rules. They do not need further explanation, it is common sense.’
This image shows the second man who defaced the walls of the ancient Mayan structure in Guatemala. The Guatemalan Law for the Protection of the Cultural Heritage allows for fines of between £10,040 and £100,415 for causing damage to ancient sites, as well as prison sentences of between six and nine years
Albar Ruiz added: ‘We need to recruit more staff to look after our heritage.’
The Guatemalan Tourism Industry (INGUAT) complained about the incident in a public statement and demanded that the Public Ministry of Culture and Sport, which manages the world heritage monument, holds the tourists accountable for the damage.
The Guatemalan Law for the Protection of the Cultural Heritage allows for fines of between £10,040 and £100,415 for causing damage to ancient sites, as well as prison sentences of between six and nine years, according to reports.
It’s unclear whether the incident is being investigated.