The rest of Palenque.








              More from the westernmost major city in the Mayan world.  Some of the earliest signs of Mayan buildings date back as early as 600 BC.  The reason for the decline of the Mayan world in the 8th and 9th centuries is still unknown.  Two categories of possibilities are ecological, such as disease or climate change, or non-ecological, such as invasion, revolt or trade route change.  From my brief couple of hours of internet research the evidence appears to indicate the the non-ecological option, including revolt and subsequent invasion, but nobody really knows yet and I would only bet about eight bucks on my guess.

            Frommers provides a Palenque site map [Link] if you'd like to follow along. The place where I took the howler monkey picture is off the map, a couple hundred yards SE of Temple 18.  Wikipedia [Link] provides more info if you'd like.

Click on the image and shut up, please.


Very detailed tablets are found within the courtyards of the Palace.

They are likely the figures of rulers and religious figures.

Some of the details of the steps within this courtyard.

This is the Palace courtyard where the 3 previous pictures were taken.

One of the many round altars throughout the grounds, this one on the west side of the Palace.

Info for the next 3 pictures regarding the Temple of the Inscriptions.

The width and very steep angle of this structure, and that it faces north so the front is usually shadowed, give it a very imposing feel.

Unique in that it had a burial chamber incorporated at the time of it's construction, for Lord Pacal, founder of the first ruling dynasty of Palenque.

Lord Pacal's crypt. Born 603 and died 684 AD according to inscriptions. Crypt and lid were all carved from a single stone, or boulder.

Altar at the base of T. of the Inscriptions steps. Lord Pacal's inscriptions included predictions of the future; AD 4772 was his furthest. We'll see..

Temple of the Cross info for the 3 following pictures. The buildings in this area all had inscriptions supporting the deification of Pacals offspring.

The inscriptions are visions of Pacal's ruling dynasty being man/god/beast like; thus it was their divine right to rule. [view from the Palace].

This deification was implied through images of Pacal returning from the dead and giving Chan Bahlum, his son, divine right.

Similar images of returning from the dead and being god-like, continue for 100's of years to help justify the divine ruling right of Pacal's dynasty.

Temple of the Sun, part of The Group of the Cross. Buildings in this area have these "roof-combs".

Temple of the Sun and part of Temple 14 (boring name) from the top of the Temple of the Cross.

Looking west from Temple of the Cross.

Info for following 2 pictures.

I guess the smaller less impressive buildings get the boring names; Temple 14 here.

Inside Temple 14, More man/god/beast images of the ruling dynasty.

Viewing the Palace from Temple 14. They still don't know how large Palenque really is. Most of the excavations have been on the huge center.

The Mayans invented the helicopter, shown here, then sold the plans to Da Vinci during the war of 1812 when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor.

This area is directly behind, or North of, the Temple of the Cross.

Bad picture but I worked my butt of for it. Me and 6 other guys went looking for the howler monkeys. They're small but make a huge sound.

Temple 17, south end of the park. It's hard to believe that the Mayans built all they did and never invented the wheel. That's actually true!

Inscriptions inside Temple 17.

Another shot of the Palace, from the top of the Temple of the Skull.

NW Corner of the Palace, I just thought it was sort of cool to see the moon over the corner like that.

Info for following picture. The Mayans had the first fully developed written language in Mesoamerica before the Spanish conquest.

Their written symbols were similar in function to Japanese writing. The Mayans were experts in Mathematics and Astronomy.

Temple of the Count; Count Waldreck lived in the following building for about two years.

Nice little Condo. Some evidence suggests that Palenque was built for defensive purposes. It is the westernmost major Mayan city.

Info for following photo. Palenque started to thrive around the 4th century AD and reached its peak between 600-800 AD.

The inscriptions have Lord Pacal as 81 years old at death but archeologists say his remains appeared to be from a much younger man...

...begging the question: "who's buried in Pacal's tomb?"

This photo demonstrates that the built-in flash on my camera is weak. Sometimes it makes for a cool effect but here it's just weak.