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Pre-Hispanic City and National Park of Palenque Historical Facts and Pictures

Palenque, an archaeological site in Chiapas, Mexico is one of the most magnificent and significant Classic period sites of Mayan civilization. The pre-Hispanic city, known for its well conserved sculptural and architectural ruins, exhibits skilled artistry and elegance of construction, proving the civilization’s intellect in creativity. The Palenque ruins, being surrounded by a tropical jungle, represent merely the central region of the enormous Maya city, which covered an approximate area of 8 sq. km.

Palenque Map

Palenque Map

Pre Hispanic City and National Park of Palenque

Pre Hispanic City and National Park of Palenque

Palenque History

The Maya city of Palenque, Mexico was mainly constructed during the 3rd-5th centuries. The significant monuments were all constructed during 500-700 AD, when the city flourished immensely. However, by the end of 10th century, the city was ruined by the invasions from the inhabitants of the coastal region in Gulf of Mexico causing its abandonment.

Palenque Astronaut

Palenque Astronaut

Palenque Tomb

Palenque Tomb

Temple of the Inscriptions

With constructions believed to have started around 675 AD, the temple represents K’inich Janaab Pakal’s funerary monument, housing the second longest Maya script known today. A passageway going through a stairway to the tomb of Pakal was revealed in 1952 when archaeologists took away a stone slab at the temple’s back room. Pakal’s tomb with its carved sarcophagus lid, the stucco sculpture, and the accompanying ornaments is a testimony to their artistic ability.

Palenque Slab Astronaut

Palenque Slab Astronaut

Palenque Slab Spaceship

Palenque Slab Spaceship

Palenque Slab

Palenque Slab

Palenque Temple of Inscriptions

Palenque Temple of Inscriptions

In 1968, Erich von Daniken in his book “Chariots of the Gods?” compared Pakal’s pose on the sarcophagus lid to that of astronauts, interpreting it as evidence of extraterrestrial influence on Mayan civilization.

Complex of Temples of the Cross

The Temple of the Foliated Cross, Temple of the Sun and Temple of the Cross, collectively form a group of graceful temples, each consisting of a carved relief representing two figures offering effigies and ritual objects to a central representation.

Temple of the Cross

Temple of the Cross

Temple of the Foliated Cross

Temple of the Foliated Cross

Temple of the Skull

Temple of the Skull

Palenque Palace

It is a complex of connected and adjacent courtyards and buildings that were utilized by the aristocracy for ritualistic ceremonies, entertainment, and functions. The four-story tower, commonly called The Observation Tower, is the most recognizable and unique feature of the Palace.

Palenque Palace

Palenque Palace

Other Important Monuments

  • Temple XIII: Contained Red Queen’s Tomb with the sarcophagus covered with cinnabar powder.
  • Temple of the Skull: It contains a skull on a pillar.
  • Structure XII: Contains a carving of God of Death.
  • Temple of the Jaguar: Contains an elaborate carving of a ruler seated on a jaguar-shaped throne.
Structure XII

Structure XII

Temple of the Jaguar

Temple of the Jaguar

Temple of the Sun

Temple of the Sun

Temple XIII

Temple XIII

Temple XIX

Temple XIX

Category

Mexico

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Quick Info

Possibly around 226 BC

Late Preclassic – Early Postclassic

17°29′2.32″N and 92°2′46.78″W
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Cultural
Carretera a Palenque-Zona Archaeologica Km. 8, 29960 Palenque, Chis., Mexico
Every day from 8 am to 4:30 pm
+52 916 345 2721