The walls are characterized by their stucco applications and by the bass-relieves engraved on its massive stonewalls, some of which have even been deciphered by the scholars. The fabulous precincts that nowadays cause admiration and respect are just a tenth of what once was the mysterious and ancient City of the Mayas.
Constructed in the midst of the rainforest of Chiapas and at only
seven kilometres from the present town of Palenque
the complex was discovered in the 18th century. Archaeological researches
have estimated its beginnings from approximately around the year
100 B.C. as an agricultural town.
Its golden period came about during the so called Periodo Clasico
Tardio, or Late Classical Period (600 to 900 A.D.), acknowledging
Baka, or Solar Shield (615 to 683 A.D.), as the most important ruler
, reputedly the king that ordered the
construction of the mausoleum from which his remains were unearthed.
At his death, his elder son, Chan-Bahlum, or Serpent-Jaguar, was
to continue with his father's legacy and so, the prosperous times
still endured. Some centuries later Palenque
deserted and ultimately destroyed for reasons unknown.
means going to an encounter with
a Pre-Hispanic City that reflects the religious, artistic and scientific
values of one of the highest points among the American civilizations.
These are some of its foremost constructions:
- The Site Museum
- The Templo de las Inscripciones Temple. Inside the
walls of this remarkable pyramid the Mayas traced more than
600 hieroglyphs. One of the major findings took place in 1949,
when the archaeologists found an imposing funerary chamber made
from stone and profusely decorated in bass-relieves. Inside
this chamber was also found the impressive sarcophagus of King
Pakal, or Baka, the foremost governor of Palenque,
among uncounted offerings and outfitted in garments adorned
with precious jewels. The building of this mausoleum is believed
to have been ordered by the king itself.
- El Palacio - the Palace is the biggest building in Palenque. Its structure is pretty complicated, arranged by galleries, columns, interior yards, corridors, passages, scaled basements, and stone boards with hieroglyphic writings. The construction it crowned by a superb four-sided tower -quite probably the only one built during the classical period- that was presumably used as astronomical observatory.
The construction of this striking building took a long time to be accomplished, especially during the kingdom of the grandson of Pakal. This fact was interpreted from the hieroglyphics that depict the history of the royal family, engraved on the walls and stairs of the palace.
According to the researches of several scholars, the building might have been some kind of administrative building. Nevertheless, the presence of vapour baths in a contiguous yard indicates that it might as well have been the home to the principal authorities of the Mayas.
- The Conjunto de la Cruz Cross Compound is an architectonical
complex including the Templo del Sol Sun Temple, still in an
excellent state of preservation and offering from its top a
splendid overview of Palenque. The Templo de
la Cruz that has lost its façade but its top crest is still
visible. The Templo de la Cruz Foliada Leafed Ceoss Temple,
which holds in its interior a corn plant representing the axis
of the world and as a symbol of the cultivated Nature. And the
Templo XIV, with boards containing inscriptions and figures
This compound, erected upon the orders of King Chan-Bahlum, son
of Pakal, is located at some distance from the Palace, on the
fringes of the exuberant jungle that surrounds Palenque.
consists of two halls devoted to permanent exhibitions and one for temporary ones, besides a shop of artisan's produce. Among the objects on exhibit, are worth mentioning a number of valuable ceramics, tablets carved in stone, glyphs, fragments of stucco, among other objects found in this Maya complex between the years of 1900 and 1995.
It was inaugurated in the year of 1995 and is located at a distance of one kilometre from the Archaeological Center.