Geographic Coordinates: 17.433300, -91.800000
Temperature Range: 20.0°C to 35.0°C (68°F to 95°F)
Climate: Tropical climate with rainy and dry seasons.
Palenque is a small but incredibly important city located in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas. It was once the capital of the Mayan civilization and is now home to some of the most impressive ruins in all of Mexico. The ancient city was founded sometime around 226 BC and reached its peak during the Classic period between 600-800 AD. The ruins at Palenque are considered some of the most beautiful and well-preserved examples of Mayan architecture in existence today.
The site covers an area of approximately 2.5 square miles, With over 500 buildings, Including temples, Palaces, Ball courts, And residential areas. Amongst these structures are several iconic buildings that have become synonymous with Palenque: The Temple of Inscriptions, The Palace, And The Temple of the Cross. The Temple of Inscriptions is one such building that has become synonymous with Palenque due to its impressive architecture and historical significance. This temple features nine levels with a steep staircase leading up to it from ground level. It was built by King Pakal sometime around 683 AD as his final resting place.
Another notable structure within Palenque’s ruins is The Palace, Which sits atop a large platform overlooking much of the surrounding jungle landscape. This palace served as both a residence for royalty and also as an administrative center for governing officials during Mayan times. Perhaps one lesser-known but equally fascinating aspect about Palenque lies beneath its surface – literally! Beneath many parts throughout this ancient city lie intricate tunnels that were used for both drainage purposes as well as providing access to underground water sources.
Palenque’s history goes beyond just being an important part within Mayan civilization; it also played a significant role during Mexico’s colonial era when Spanish conquistadors arrived in what is now known as Chiapas state back in 1524 AD. Today visitors can explore these incredible ruins on foot or via guided tours. They can also learn about the Mayan culture, Their way of life, And how they built such impressive structures without the use of modern machinery.
Whether you’re an avid history buff or just looking for a unique travel experience, Palenque is a must-visit destination in Mexico that will leave you in awe of its beauty and historical significance.
- Palenque Archaeological Site is a UNESCO World Heritage site that features ancient Mayan ruins and temples.
- Misol-Ha Waterfall is a picturesque waterfall surrounded by lush vegetation.
- Agua Azul Waterfalls are a series of cascading waterfalls with turquoise blue waters.
- Palenque National Park is a protected natural area surrounding the archaeological site, home to diverse flora and fauna.
- Temple of the Inscriptions is an ancient temple within the Palenque Archaeological Site that houses hieroglyphic inscriptions.
- El Panchán Ecotourism Center is a popular lodging and dining spot for visitors to Palenque, located in the jungle near the archaeological site.
- Bonampak Archaeological Site is another important Mayan ruin complex located about 2 hours from Palenque, known for its well-preserved murals depicting ancient life and warfare.
- Yaxchilan Archaeological Site is located along the Usumacinta River on Mexico’s border with Guatemala, this remote Mayan ruin complex accessible only by boat but offers stunning views and impressive architecture.
- Agriculture (specifically coffee and cacao production)
- Livestock farming
- Handicrafts (such as weaving and pottery)
- Small-scale manufacturing of products like furniture and clothing
- Mining operations in the surrounding area for minerals such as limestone
- The founding of Palenque dates back to around 100 BC, when the Maya people established the city.
- Pakal the Great was a prominent Mayan king who reigned over Palenque from 615 to 683 AD. His legacy includes numerous building projects and some of Mesoamerica’s most impressive works of art and architecture.
- Spanish explorer Antonio del Rio discovered Palenque’s ruins in 1746 while searching for treasure in the area.
- John Lloyd Stephens’ book Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan, published in 1841, chronicled his travels through Central America and included his visit to Palenque’s ruins. His vivid descriptions helped raise interest in Mesoamerican archaeology among Western audiences.
- Between 1949 and 1978, Mexican archaeologist Alberto Ruz Lhuillier led several significant excavation and restoration projects at Palenque that uncovered many valuable artifacts and structures that had been buried or damaged over time.
- Today, thousands of tourists visit the ancient ruins at Palenque each year, making it one of Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations.
- Other notable figures associated with Palenque include American archaeologist Linda Schele (who conducted extensive research on Mayan hieroglyphics) and Mexican anthropologist Carlos Navarrete (who studied Mayan culture and history).
- Palenque Archaeological Site is a UNESCO World Heritage site that showcases ancient Mayan ruins and temples.
- Museo de Sitio Palenque is a museum located within the archaeological site that displays artifacts and exhibits related to the history of the Mayan civilization.
- Templo de las Inscripciones, situated within the Palenque ruins, houses an important inscription detailing King Pakal’s life and accomplishments.
- Cascada Misol-Ha, located just outside of Palenque, is a stunning waterfall surrounded by lush jungle scenery.
- Museo del Jade Maya in nearby San Cristobal de las Casas is dedicated to jade, one of the most important materials in Mayan culture.
- Iglesia de Santo Domingo de Guzmán is a beautiful colonial-era church situated in downtown Palenque.
- Zona Arqueológica Bonampak, another ancient Mayan site near Palenque, is known for its well-preserved murals depicting scenes from daily life and warfare.
- Grutas de Misol-Ha are cave systems near Cascada Misol-Ha with impressive stalactites and stalagmites that visitors can explore on guided tours.
- Parador Turístico Roberto Barrios features natural pools and waterfalls surrounded by dense jungle vegetation; it’s popular for swimming and hiking excursions.
- Centro Cultural El Paliacate promotes traditional Mexican culture through exhibitions, workshops, concerts, dance performances among other activities focused on cultural exchange between artists from different regions of Mexico.
- Festival of San Sebastian: This festival is celebrated on January 20th every year to honor the patron saint of Palenque, San Sebastian. The event features processions, traditional dances, and music performances.
- Carnival: The Palenque Carnival takes place in February or March each year and showcases colorful parades with floats, costumes, and dancing.
- Feria de la Primavera y La Paz: Celebrated in April or May, this fair commemorates springtime with live music performances, cultural events, food stalls, and carnival rides.
- Dia de los Muertos: Observed on November 1st and 2nd annually throughout Mexico is Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), which pays tribute to deceased loved ones through offerings of food and flowers at altars adorned with sugar skulls.
- Christmas Posadas: During December leading up to Christmas Day (December 25th), there are nightly reenactments of Mary and Joseph’s search for lodging before Jesus’ birth known as Las Posadas. These processions include singing carols in the streets followed by feasting on traditional foods like tamales and ponche (a warm fruit punch).
- Palenque National Park is a must-see destination for those interested in Mayan history. The park is home to the ancient ruins of Palenque, where visitors can explore and learn about the fascinating culture of this ancient civilization.
- Cascadas de Agua Azul is a breathtaking waterfall located just outside of Palenque. Visitors can swim, hike, and take in the natural beauty of the area.
- Misol-Ha Waterfall is another stunning waterfall near Palenque that offers visitors a chance to swim and explore caves behind the falls.
- El Panchán is an eco-tourism village just outside of Palenque National Park that offers a variety of accommodations, restaurants, and activities such as hiking trails, zip-lining, and horseback riding.
- Bonampak Archaeological Site features well-preserved murals depicting scenes from daily life in Mayan times and is located about 2 hours from Palenque by car or bus.
- Yaxchilan Archaeological Site offers visitors an unforgettable glimpse into ancient Mayan culture but can only be reached by boat on the Usumacinta River near Guatemala’s border.
- Rafting down Rio Lacanjá provides adventure seekers with an adrenaline rush while taking them through lush jungle scenery with opportunities for wildlife spotting along the way!