Palenque, Jungle and Mayans Ruins
Trip Start Jul 08, 2007
143Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
The ruins are very well maintained, spectacular, quite big (much smaller than Tikal, Copan, etc. however) and each one of its parts is different from one the other (which is not often the case with ruins).
A bit of history:
Much of the Early Classic history of the city still awaits the archaeologist's trowel
The famous structures that we know today probably represent a rebuilding effort in response to the attacks by the city of Calakmul and its client states in 599 and 611. One of the main figures responsible for rebuilding Palenque and for a renaissance in the city's art and architecture is also one of the best-known Maya Ajaw, K'inich Janaab' Pakal (also known as Pakal the Great), who ruled from 615 to 683. He 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. It held this position until the discovery of the rich Moche burials at Sipan, Peru and the recent discoveries at Copan and Calakmul.
Beside the attention that K'inich Janaab' Pakal's tomb brought to Palenque, the city is historically significant for its extensive hieroglyphic corpus composed during the reigns of Janaab' Pakal his son K'inich Kan B'ahlam and his grandson K'inich Akal Mo' Naab', and for being the location where Heinrich Berlin and later Linda Schele and Peter Mathews outlined the first dynastic list for any Maya city.
The rain, mist and sun made the ambiance at the ruins really special. Many of Palenque;s habitants were living in quarters near very spectacular waterfalls. I would have really enjoyed living there at that time or at least, bathe in its splendor.
The current "modern" city have been built following the rediscovery of the ruins and other than a few restaurants, iCafe and other services a city of 60 000 habitants requires, there is nothing worth seing there. I stayed at the El Panchen (camping/cabana) and I really enjoyed it. Got a cabana in the middle of the jungle for 10$/night and appreciated the live music throughout the day and the evening. The basic swimming pool, as the rest of the site that is, is litterally in the middle of the jungle. While I was bathing there, in the middle of the afternoon, I saw 5 monkeys (big, white and black) crossing from trees to trees above my head. A really great spectacle.