Palenque Things to Do

  • Temple of the Inscriptions
    Temple of the Inscriptions
    by Twan
  • Temple of the Inscriptions
    Temple of the Inscriptions
    by Twan
  • The Palace
    The Palace
    by Twan

Most Recent Things to Do in Palenque

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    Palace East Courtyard

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Written Nov 5, 2012

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    Palace East Courtyard

    The Palace has four patios. The largest and most interesting patio is the East Courtyard, which is enclosed by Building C to the west, Building A to the east and Building B to the south.

    The steps leading to Building C are flanked by stone slabs depicting kneeling figures in obsequious positions. Each of these figures appears to be drawing attention to the glyphs on the steps. As far as these glyphs can be decoded they represent the name of the ruler Pakal with the dates of his birth (AD 603) and accession (AD 615). To the right of the steps is a tablet with four enlarged glyphs; these have not yet been deciphered.

    The staircase to Building A is framed on both sides by square stone blocks; four on the left and five on the right have massive figures carved into them. As some of the figures are portrayed in obsequious kneeling postures, it is believed that they are slaves or prisoners.

    The columns subdividing the entrances on the exterior eastern façade of the building are decorated with beautiful, but very badly damaged, stucco reliefs. The two outer panels bear glyphs, while the others portray figures of rulers. The throne, decorated with hieroglyphics and dated AD 662, was once the centre-piece of a cult chamber divided into many parts.

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    Palace West Staircase

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Written Nov 5, 2012

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    Palace West Staircase
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    Having finished with the Temple of the Inscriptions Court and its Temples you’d better go in the Grand Palace. It’s considered that the Palace got its final appearance around 790 AD, as a result of a long series of modifications. Now the building boasted amazing stairways, galleries, corridors, sanctuaries, passageways, latrines, steam baths, and a peculiar 4 story Tower.
    You’d better enter the Palace by the West Staircase – the most impressive staircases. You will find there the most exciting views on the Temple of the Inscriptions Court and Palace surroundings.

    You can watch my 5 min 08 sec about Palenque Video Palenque part 1 out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.

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    Grand Palace

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Written Nov 4, 2012

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    Grand Palace
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    The Grand Palace, with its extraordinary watch tower, stands ahead of you and Temple XIII. This building stands to the right, in the middle of a row of smaller structures between the Skull Temple and the Temple of the Inscriptions.
    The Grand Palace is next encountered on the left-hand side; it is a building untypical of Mayan architecture.
    It was constructed on an enormous man-made platform, trapezoid in shape, approximately 10 m high, 100 m long and 80 m wide.
    It is thought that the part of the palace visible today was built in several phases between AD 650-770.
    The irregular site consists essentially of a good dozen buildings arranged around four inner courtyards, underground passages, and a tower which dominates the whole scene. It is assumed that the palace served mainly as an administrative building, although part of it was inhabited by the rulers.

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    Ruz’s Tomb

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Written Nov 4, 2012

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    Ruz���s Tomb

    Alberto Ruz L’huillier was the first who found the Pakal’s Tomb in the Temple of the Inscriptions.
    In 1952 Alberto Ruz L'huillier removed a stone slab in the floor of the back room of the temple superstructure to reveal a passageway (filled in shortly before the city's abandonment and reopened by archeologists) leading through a long stairway to Pakal's tomb.
    Now we can see the Ruz’s Tomb in the Temple of the Inscriptions Court.

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    K'inich Janaab' Pakal's Mask

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Written Nov 4, 2012

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    K'inich Janaab' Pakal
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    The most famous ruler of Palenque was Pacal the Great whose tomb has been found and excavated in the Temple of the Inscriptions.
    During a long reign of some 68 years Pakal was responsible for the construction or extension of some of Palenque's most notable surviving inscriptions and monumental architecture.
    Pakal is best known through his funerary monument, dubbed the Temple of Inscriptions after the lengthy text preserved in the temple's superstructure. At the time Alberto Ruz Lhuillier excavated Pakal's tomb it was the richest and best preserved of any scientifically excavated burial then known from the ancient Americas.
    Pakal’s face was covered with a mask, elaborated with finely polished jadeite plaques with inlaid shells and obsidian.
    You will see the Stone carving and copies of the Mask of Pacal the Great in the Museum of Palenque.

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    Tomb of K'inich Janaab' Pakal

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Written Nov 4, 2012

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    Carved lid of the tomb of K'inich Janaab' Pakal
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    One of the greatest sensations of pre-Columbian archaeology began to emerge when Alberto Ruz l'Huillier discovered an entrance in the middle chamber of the temple in 1949 which led to a flight of steps buried in earth and rubble.
    A secret entrance to the interior of the pyramid was revealed and a masonry wall, at the foot of which lay earthenware vessels, shells, pieces of jade and a pearl as votive offerings, was discovered.

    The stone slab was turned on its axis to reveal the entrance to a crypt, below the temple platform. The heavy stone slab which sealed the sarcophagus is embellished in low relief.
    Pacal, the ruler, sits with his knees drawn up and his upper body bent back on a mask which portrays the earth god. The grave goods and a reconstruction of the crypt of Palenque can be seen in the Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City.

    You will see the copy of the Carved lid of the tomb of K'inich Janaab' Pakal in the Museum of Palenque.
    Unfortunately the Crypt was closed for visitors when I was there.

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    Temple of the Inscriptions

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Written Nov 4, 2012

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    Temple of the Inscriptions
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    The Temple of the Inscriptions is the largest Mesoamerican stepped pyramid structure at the pre-Columbian Maya civilization site of Palenque .
    The Pyramid measures 60 meters wide, 42.5 meters deep and 27.2 meters high. The Summit temple measures 25.5 meters wide, 10.5 meters deep and 11.4 meters high. The largest stones weigh 12 to 15 tons. These were on top of the Pyramid. The Total volume of pyramid and temple is 32,500 cu. meters.
    The building was begun approximately 672 A .D. and it was ready 682 A .D. The roof once had a roof comb. 5 Doors goes in the building. The four piers in the middle have the remaining from stuck figures.

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    Temple of the Inscriptions Court

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Written Nov 4, 2012

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    Temple of the Inscriptions Court
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    The Temple of the Inscriptions Court is the first and the most impressive that you will see when enter the site. It is bounded by the Palace (from the East), Temple of the Inscriptions, Temple of the Red Queen (Temple XIII), Temple of the Dying Moon (Temple XII) (from the South) and the Temple XI (from the West).
    We can also see the Ruz’s Tomb nearby and some wonderful trees that border the Court.

    You can watch my photo of Palenque on the Google Earth according to the following coordinates 17° 29' 3.36" N 92° 2' 47.50" W or on my Google Earth Panoramio Temple of the Inscriptions Court 2 .

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    Mask of the Red Queen

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Written Nov 4, 2012

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    Mask of the Red Queen
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    The jade mask, a breastplate encrusted with jewels, and with hundreds of jade pieces and ear-studs was found in the burial chamber of the Temple XIII.
    Two further skeletons were discovered in the one room. Although no glyphs were found in the tomb it is assumed that the body was that of a high-ranking female person ("the Red Queen of Palenque"), perhaps even the mother of Pakal and ruler of Palenque. This seems to confirm the theory that the central square of Palenque served as the necropolis for the ruling class.

    You will see the copies of the mask in the Palenque museum and will be able to buy a souvenir in a form of this mask.

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    Temple of the Red Queen (Temple XIII)

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Written Nov 4, 2012

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    Temple of the Red Queen
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    The Temple of the Red Queen is next to the Skull Temple . It is also known as Temple XIII , and is the second building to your right which you will see as you walk into the site. The temple is built on top of a large platform, and was built to cover 2 older buildings. Three vaulted rooms separated by thick walls were built as a funerary vault.

    The Temple of the Red Queen was the only temple we could see from inside in February of 2011. The Temple of the Inscriptions and its Tomb was unfortunately closed for visitors after an incident which took place there with an American tourist.

    In 1994 a sensational find - a burial chamber complete with sarcophagus was made in Temple XIII. The latter contained the remains of a body painted in vermilion (typical for deceased Maya princes) of a woman of about 40 years old, 1.7m tall.

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    Temple of the Dying Moon or Temple of the Scull

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Written Nov 4, 2012

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    Temple of the Dying Moon or Temple of the Scull
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    The ruins of Temples XII (the Temple of the Dying Moon or Temple of the Scull) and XIII (the Temple of the Red Queen) are the first you will see after entering the area.
    The both ruins were probably constructed between AD 731 and 764.

    Rising from the top of a platform, and consisting of 2 parallel passageways looking on to the site, the building is crowned by a front passageway that has a portico, and framed by pillars at the bottom of which you may appreciate the elaborate skull shaped stucco relief.

    A stucco modeled bas relief, in the shape of the skull of a rabbit, gives this temple its name. In the inscriptions at Palenque Baak , or bone, is the name given to the local dynasty.

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    Maya tempels at Palenque

    by Twan Updated Feb 20, 2012

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    Maya tempels at Palenque
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    Palenque is an archaeological site of the Mayan civilization is not far from the Usumacintarivier in the state of Chiapas, Mexico approximately 130km south of Ciudad del Carmen. Here are some temples to be found:

    Temple of the Cross,
    Temple of the Sun
    Temple of the Cross Leaves

    These are graceful temples on top of a pyramid steps, each with a large relief in the inner chamber. They are monuments to the accession of King K'inich K'an B'alam II, the successor of Pakal. The early Spanish visitors to the temples named after the cross, but the pictures show, in reality, the Tree of the Maya Creation Mythology.

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    The Palace

    by Twan Written Feb 20, 2012
    The Palace
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    Palenque is an archaeological site of the Mayan civilization is not far from the Usumacintarivier in the state of Chiapas, Mexico approximately 130km south of Ciudad del Carmen. Here are some temples to be found:

    Temple of the Cross,
    Temple of the Sun
    Temple of the Cross Leaves

    These are graceful temples on top of a pyramid steps, each with a large relief in the inner chamber. They are monuments to the accession of King K'inich K'an B'alam II, the successor of Pakal. The early Spanish visitors to the temples named after the cross, but the pictures show, in reality, the Tree of the Maya Creation Mythology.

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    Temple of the Inscriptions

    by Twan Written Feb 20, 2012

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    Temple of the Inscriptions
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    On the southern edge of the central plaza of Palenque, set against a steep limestone hill, the Temple of the Inscriptions held a remarkable secret for centuries.
    In 1948, Alberto Ruz investigated four curious stone plugs in the floor of the temple and discovered a secret passage filled with rubble. It took four long seasons to remove the rubble from the steep and slippery stairway that came to a landing then changed directions and continued on for 80 feet below the temple floor and 5 feet beneath the level of the central plaza.
    Behind a triangular slab door, Ruz made a discovery that would change the world's view of Maya pyramids -- an amazing stone chamber that housed an elaborately carved sarcophagus and the remains of a royal person along with a multitude of jade and other artifacts. It was not until epigraphers learned to decipher the glyphs on the sarcophagus and the inscriptions in the temple above that these remains could be identified as Hanab Pacal.
    It was Pacal himself who had this magnificent pyramid built and his heir, Chan Bahlum who completed it. The temple rises 75 feet high and the roofcomb would have added an additional 40 feet. This must have been an impressive sight from the northern plains, visible from miles away.
    There are eight stepped terraces to the base of the temple, each banded with a molding that lends a horizontal line to the structure. A narrow stairway leads up to the temple.
    The front of the temple is composed of five doorways separated by 5 piers. Chan Bahlum used these surfaces for stucco illustrations of his divine legacy. Each bas-relief carving depicts an adult presenting the young heir, who is shown with both human characteristics (with six fingers and toes that also appear elsewhere on adult portraits of Chan Bahlum) and divine attributes - such as the snake-like appendage in lieu of one leg and foot.
    Inside the temple, two large vaulted chambers house three glyphic panels which are the second longest known inscription by the ancient Maya. Here is recounted the dynastic history of Pacal's ancestors.
    A curious feature to this structure is a duct that runs from the tomb, up the sides of the interior stairs to the temple floor. Many theories have been proposed as to the purpose of this duct, such as being a channel for Pacal's spirit to communicate with his descendants during bloodletting rituals on the temple above. Based on the observation that during the winter solstice the sun appears to set into the temple, following the path of the interior staircase, I suggest that this duct provided a path for the setting sun to take directly to Pacal's remains.

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    Swimming in the falls near the ruins

    by DSwede Updated Sep 15, 2011

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    Private swimming pools

    The colleague I was traveling with had frequently visited Palenque in his youth, but in the 30 years that had passed since his last visit, many things had changed.

    The waterfalls along the walking path below the ruins used to be the swimming pools. And even back then, the walking path itself did not exist. However today, it is off limits.

    Having brought our shorts and having spent all day in the hot sun, we were both hopeful to find a place to cool off. Thankfully we did find a place.

    This little pool at the base of the small falls offers crystal clear water, which is cool and refreshing. There is a tiny little cave behind the falls which you can enter about 2.5m. The pool also has a naturally occurring bench seat in the water on the opposite side.

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