Tikal pyramids

Echoes off this pyramid create an unexpected chirping sound. But did the ancient Mayan’s deliberately design this sound effect?

1 Star, yawn2 Stars, OK3 Stars, interesting4 Stars, worth a detour5 Stars, worth a journey
(11 Votes, average 4.55)

Tikal was the largest city of the ancient Mayan civilization and is probably Guatemala’s most famous tourist destination. If you stand at the bottom of the pyramid’s steps and clap your hands you get this incredible chirping sound. Echoes off buildings are common, but not ones that distort sound like this. Whether the pyramid was constructed to deliberately make this chirp is still a matter of debate. Reflections from the treads of the staircase are responsible for the echo. It’s down to geometry, later reflections are spaced further apart – all staircases have potential to chirp.


Website. BTW The wildlife calls in this overgrown, runied city are also stunning: parrots, toucans and even howler monkeys.

Sources and credits

  1. Photo: Raymond Ostertag (c) some rights reserved
  2. Sound (c) sagejock