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A Visit to Ancient Palenque, Mexico
Posted In: Ancient Civilizations  9/11/11
By: Yona Williams

The ancient Mayans called Palenque, Mexico their home many centuries ago and because of its connection to the rich history of the culture – many tourists make a trip to view its beauty. In this article, you will learn about the attractions that may interest a traveler to the city.

Temple of the Inscriptions

The Temple of the Inscriptions is an eye-catching pyramid located on the right of the entrance. Inside, archeologists found hieroglyphic panels that described the family tree of King Pakal. Because of these hieroglyphics, the temple received its name. Today, these inscriptions are now housed in the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City.

Tomb of King Pakal

The tomb of King Pakal was discovered in 1952 – situated deep within the temple. The public is not allowed to visit the crypt, but most of the tomb has been relocated to Mexico City. A descending stone staircase led researchers to the crypt. The builders had strategically concealed the entrance. Interestingly, the archeologist who found the crypt (Alberto Ruz Lhuller) is actually buried opposite the temple.

Temple 13

Temple 13 is located to the right of the Temple of the Inscriptions. Archaeologists learned that the remains of an important individual had been housed in the temple – along with an adult female and an adolescent. Artifacts found in this temple have been put on display at the museum.

The Palace

The main path will take you to the Palace. Offering a style that is quite similar to the Chinese, you will find an impressive sight – the tower. Positioned along the east edge of Palace, you will get a good glimpse at one of the many aqueduct channels that travel throughout the site. The height and vaulted features is a noted draw for tourists.

Impressive Group of Temples

Travel the pathway between the Palace and the Temple of the Inscriptions to encounter a group of important monuments. Get ready to view the Temple of the Sun, the Temple of the Foliated Cross, the Temple of the Cross, and Temple 14. This particular group of temples shows various stages of reconstruction. Chan-Bahlum (Pakal's son) is responsible for building the temples. In Temple 14, the plaster mask of Chan-Bahlum was found, which is next to the Temple of the Sun. Archeologists hope to uncover his tomb in the Temple of the Sun.

The North Group

The North Group is located left from the Palace. It is here that you will find the Temple of the Count and several tombs that were filled with offerings. The lineages of at least 12 kings can be traced back by reading the inscriptions on the temples.

The Site Museum

If you explore past the North Group, a pathway takes you down a jungle hillside. Benches and small reconstructed temples are found. The surroundings are soothing with the colors of parrots and monkeys that dart in the foliage. Travel about ½ mile to browse the site museum. It's small, but worth the visit, as you will encounter artifacts that have been excavated from Palenque tombs.

Interested in Visiting?

If you ever want to pay a visit to the ruins, tourists come to the Chiapas attraction – usually taking a $1 shuttle bus (called colectivos) to the site. These white VW buses run every 10 minutes from 6am to 6pm. The cost to enjoy the ruins is $7, but if you plan on bringing a video camera to capture the sights, expect an extra $5 fee.


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