Palenque archaeological zone is situated 8 km from Palenque city in the State of Chiapas, Mexico.
Palenque, located in the
northwest of the Maya lowlands,
is considered as one of the most important
archaeological sites of Mesoamerica. As in other Maya areas, here there was
a vigorous development in religious and civil architecture, as well as in
art and crafts. The earliest evidence of occupation date from about 100 b.C.,
when it may have been a small farming village (formative period). Throughout
the early classic (300-600 A.D.) the city grew steadily, and by the late
classic (600-900 A.C.) it had become the power center that ruled over a
large part of what today is the states of Chiapas and Tabasco.
In the State of Chiapas,
besides Spanish: tseltal, tzotzil, tojolabal, chol, lacandon, chuj and zoque.
The archaeological site of Palenque lies in chol speaking area; however,
tseltal has become the language through which the numerous inhabitants of
the various ethnic groups communicate with each other. That is why all
archaeological information is in that language.
Inside this building three
tombs were detected that together with three others behind it, were placed
as construction offerings. In small plaza to the rear the skeletons of 18
people were uncovered,
all of them aligned in a northward direction just as those in the tombs. The
outside burials sites however, are not directly associated
with the building. Most outstanding are the remains,
probably belonging to a ruler, found in a sarcophagus in the middle room of
A group comprised by a large
number of buildings scattered between Otolum an Bat brooks. They were
constructed on low platforms and had up to four
parallel passageways. The buildings show various subdivisions suggestive of
rooms: they have one or two levels reached over narrow stairways. Some of
the rooms contain tombs beneath their floors; other, such as Temple III,
clay vessels, as well as stone, jadeite and shell tools were found outside
the buildings. Such wares atiest to the everyday activities at these
representative sets of living quarters during Palenque's final stage.
The Palenque archaeological
zone main attractions are:
El Templo de las
Inscripciones (the Temple of the Inscriptions), where you can visit the Tumba Real (the
The jambs next to
the entrance pilasters of this temple had hieroglyphic inscriptions,
fragments of which have survived. The rear wall had a panel with a
stucco relief which inspired the buildings present name. The relief
depicted a person seated on throne, and whose limbs ended in jaguar
The claws of this animal functioned as underpinnings for the
seat. Part of the seat and the left claw are today still intact. To each
side of the person there were hieroglyphic text. At the side of the
panel is a staircase that leads a possible funeral chamber.
Tablet of the Warriors, 7th. Century A.D.,
The scene depicts
the capture of a noble called B'olon Yooj by ajaw B'alam II in 695 A.D.
The captive is tied in front of this subjugator, who wears a headdress
with the image of the
"War Serpent", and also holds a spear and a
flexible shield. Temple XVII.
Stucco tablet, 8th. Century A.D.,
The individual is
U Pakal K'inich, son and heir of the ajaw Ahkal Mo' Nahb' II. He carnies
an incense bag and wears the aquatic bird mask. The text records three
ceremonies that happened in 709, 711 and 714 A.D. when he was still a
teenager. U Pakal K'inich inherited the throne after his father's death,
event that occurred between 736 and 742 A.D.
San Cristobal de las Casas, lovely Colonial town situated in the
highlands of the state of
Chiapas, is the ideal place
to remain two or here days visiting its main interesting sites such as
the San Cristobal
Martyr Cathedral or the Na-Bolom Museum, cultural center of the
region, and later on depart towards one of the most interesting
archaeological zones, Palenque, cradle
of the mythical and ancestral Pakal King.
Leaving by road at an early hour you pass by the Tenejapa and San Juan
Cancuc towns. To the south of these settlements you will find the
Cillon, Bachajon and Temo villages until you get to Ocosingo, where we
recommend visiting the cathedral and taste the cheese that the natives
In Ocosingo there is a detour to visit the archaeological zone of
Tonina, one of the
largest Mayan settlements in the area. Visit, it will be a good
Continue by road 199 towards the north, pass again by Temo and arrive
to the famous Agua
Azul Waterfall, where you can have lunch and refresh yourself in
their blue waters. Further on, approximately 45 minutes later, you
will find the
a beautiful recreation place where you can spend the night in
comfortable cabins to depart the next day towards
The town of Palenque
is found at only 15 minutes away from the archaeological site. It has
an airport and its hotel offer is very wide. The five star Mision
Hotel is located one side of the downtown area, and in La Ca®ada,
which is beautiful, we find the Chablis, Maya
Tulija Hotels. This last one is located on the highway towards the
airport. It is a four star hotel, clean and comfortable.
The ancient city of Palenque is a very interesting place. It cannot be seen in one
day. We recommend that you spend three days visiting the site's
museum, where among many treasures, you will be able to admire the
"Red Queen" Pectoral, carved in stone.
Entering by the exuberant path that is located almost in front of the
museum, you can begin your visit until you cross a hanging bridge in
the middle of the jungle and arrive at a sweet water creek, which is
known as "The Queen's Bath". Being in this Pre Hispanic place, you can
visit The Great Plaza, The Bats, and very specially, the most
important and imposing construction that dominates the plaza, known as
the Temple of the
Pakal's Grave is located.