One of the major civilizations in the history of the world, the Maya stand out since the pre-classic period (1000 B.C. to 250 B.C.), no doubt because of their written language, besides their art, architecture, mathematics, and their astronomical systems. Thousands of years have gone by, but the proofs of their civilization remain, especially on the archeological site of Palenque, a medium-sized structure that takes the name of the town situated in Chiapas, a Mexican state bathed by the Usumacinta River. Historians believe that the place was an important Maya capital. Surrounded by jungle, the site shelters the wealth of Maya art from the Classic Era (200 to 900 A.D.), considered the most beautiful and sophisticated of the ancient New World.
In the Ruins of Palenque, the tourist has access to the statuary of Copan and the bas-relief carvings of Palenque, pieces that are thousands of years old and full of signification and history, and are outstanding due to the site’s impeccable state of conservation. In the complex, comprising 15km of ruins with over 500 buildings, the temples of Las Inscripciones, La Reina Roja, and La Cruz are the most notable, as well as the houses in Palenque and El Palacio de Palenque, some of the local attractions of the place considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The Ruins are easy to reach: only 8km distant from Palenque, they can be visited on public transportation, by vans that pass through Avenida Benito Juarez and Ruta 199. The trip can also be taken through a paid tour by a local tourist agency, which includes tickets and a visit to two waterfalls in the region. On arrival at the archeological site, you have the option of getting off 1.5km before the main entrance to follow a trail that goes by two waterfalls, and takes you to some ruins as yet unrestored, near the museum. Another option is to go straight to the main ruins.
Do not miss visiting:
Start at the most important building in Palenque, the Temple de Las Inscripciones. The tomb of Pakal, one of the most famous Maya rulers, was found there, together with inscriptions telling about his history. Then go to El Palacio, an important group of buildings of major artistic value. On an incredible tour, it is possible to walk among the ruins and underground tunnels, besides, of course, visiting the Tower, used as an astronomical observatory. Finally, visit the Temple of the Cross Complex, which represents the Tree of Life – the Maya believed that a Tree of Life had been planted in the center of the Earth, in a complex formed by three temples, built to celebrate the elevation to the throne of Chan Bahlum II, who took over the Government, after the death of Pakal the Great. And you must, of course, dedicate a day of your trip to visit the beautiful waterfalls of Palenque: Cascada Agua Azul and Cascada Misol Ha.