Central America is a collection of seven (7) small countries whose historic past is closed tied with native american populations such the aztecs. There are numerous ruins scattered in the jungles which attest to this fact. However, there are also some more recent structures which qualify in this group of man-made wonders. Look below for my list and descriptions, then check out the photo album which is due to follow.
1. Tikal, Guatemala. Tikal is the largest ancient Mayan ruin and is a World Heritage Site. Some of its architecture dates back to the 4th century BC, although most of the buildings are more modern. Curiously, the entire city survived on seasonal rainwater stored in underground facilities. The two most prominent buildings, the Temple of the Great Jaguar and the Temple of the Moon face each other on the Plaza Mayor (Main Square).
2. Copan, Honduras. Copan, another ancient Mayan city, is located in southern Honduras, near the Guatemalan border. It is famous for its elaborately carved stelae, standing stone monuments, intricately worked, some of the best pre-Columbian art in all of Mesoamerica.
3. Panama Canal, Panama. One of the greatest engineering projects of the Twentieth Century, this travel lane for ships across the Isthmus of Panama connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and eliminates the need to circumnavigate the South American continent on the way from the Far East to Europe and vice versa. The idea was first attempted by the French, but they failed with the loss of 22,000 workers. The United States then continued the project and completed the canal in 1914. The country of Panama assumed complete control of the Canal Zone in 1999.
4. Cathedral of Santiago, Antigua, Guatemala. This church is one of a number of buildings in this former capital which exhibits Spanish Baroque architecture with a Mudejar (Moorish) influence.
5. Casco Viejo, Panama City, Panama. This part of the city is the Old Quarter and contains much Colonial architecture and the majority of the sights which would interest the traveler. In particular, these attractions include Las Bovedas, a waterfront promenade which juts into the Pacific Ocean, the Cathedral, and Heron’s Palace, the Presidential compound.
6. Forts at Portobelo, near Colon, Panama. Portobelo, a port city in the vicinity of Colon, is famous for its fortifications, the ruins of which have been recognized as a World Heritage Site. Note that these imposing forts were not strong enough to resist the attack and capture of the city by the pirate Captain Henry Morgan.
7. National Theater, San Jose, Costa Rica. This theater is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the capital city. The ornate interior showcases the art of the country. It is still used for performances and is the home of Costa Rica’s National Symphonic Orchestra.