The hotel we will be staying in Palanque is inside a forest. Just outside our room’s windows , you can see the colorful birds and parrots flying around. This is no less than paradise.
After settling down at the hotel, we head to the city center. There is a rather small square. The structures that will most likely catch your eye first are the Church and the Government Building. Other than this there are a few souvenir shops around.
Since our arrival to the Palenque was on the afternoon, the first day we only managed to tour around the city and it’s surrounding areas and leave our actual target area the Ruins of the Mayan Civilization for tomorrow. We spend our evening hours in the hotel resting with the colorful birds.
The next morning, we head to the archeologhical area of Mayan Civilization, which is located on a 16km of land. This settlement was left buried under tons of land and laid hidden in the forests. In 1785 it was found and now only 20% of it is discovered. The rest %80 is still inside the forest, waiting to be unveiled.
The history of Palenque goes back to 2300 B.C. In the Middle American countries (Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua) the roots of the Maya culture are heavily laid out into the land. In Mexico, the history of the Mayan culture can be seen in an area of 600 km’s. These areas are the Chiapas, Yucatan, Campeche, Tobasco, Quintana Roo Federal Governments. In this area around 2.000 ruins are located. Shamanistic and mystic period is mostly around the 2300 B.c.- 200 A.d.. Around 200-300 the era of Pro-Classic is lived in which the religious leaders are also the leaders of the society. Around 300-900 is the Classic era, and the 900-1521 is the post classic era.
Mayans settled to south of the mid-Americas around 1500 A.d., and lived their classical age in Chiapas,Honduras and Guatemala. Their golden age was lived in Yucatan Peninsula. The effect of the Toltecs and Aztecs lessen significantly after that. Yet they still managed to remain in that area until the 17th century.
Palenque dates back to around 300-900. The city discovered in 1785 was well preserved due to it being hidden inside the forest. This structure laid on 16km’s of land is esteemed to be one of the capitals in which 40.000 lived of which 4000 were the elite class.
The Mayans were dwelling in agriculture and hunting. They were very well developed in cultivating vegetables and fruits. Along with this they reached out to the Mexican gulf and also did fishing, bringing the seafood and material to the in lands.
The Mayans were rather tiny people. Their height was at 1.50-1.60 Since they thought that rounded and flat heads signified mental prowess, they jammed their babies inside wooden surfaces to make the head more flat. This way the children’s heads slowly change shape. The same method was also used in Peru and Bolivia. Again they tried to make their children cross eyed, since they thought it meant intelligence.
They had many piercings on their mouths,noses ears and tongues, with many different tatoos and carvings on certain parts of their bodies. Polygamy was very common. In the elite class, a family could have up to 30 children.
The location where the Royal palace was located as acted as the center of the city. The palace was build upon a platform of 300 meters to 240 meters. The tower of the palace was used as an observatory. The stairs of the palace have the temples of the sun and the cross just across them.
On the murals located in the temple , depict the daily life of the society. Halacnuinic the leader at the top, then the clergymen and aristocrats, then the clerics , architectures and scientists. Below them the tradesman who used cocoa seeds as currency and at the bottom farmers depicted with their hands tied to each other.
The pyramid which stands at 21 meters was constructed between the 7th and the 9th century , but was later abandoned in 10th century.
The yard at the middle of the palace was used for religious ceremonies. The stairs on both sides of the palace symbolizes the rise and setting of the sun. One of the most original things this palace has that it has a sauna.
We continue our journey here through the rain forests. We encountered many interesting trees which were in quite variety. Some of the root parts of the trees just like in Angkor Wat combined with the stone structures. This forest is home to many cocoa and gumwood. Also some of the trees in this forest unified with each other years ago, and grew together. Trees of this sort are called the Epifit. One can’t help but wonder when traveling in this forest about how many temples and settlements lay hidden under these rocks and soil.
Later on we visited the tomb of the Crimson Queen, the mother of King Pakal. All the jewelries and valuables gathered from these temples were claimed by someone of unknown identity.
The pyramids in this region, just like the ones in Egypt have tomb rooms but are empty.
We visit the museum inside the ruins, observing the alphabet that is still not decrypted. If it can be, most of the information will be brought to the life regarding this temple. The king Pakal who was the last king, reigned for 69 years and died at the age of 81.
This museum has many jewelries and accessories that once belonged to the King Pakal , his mother and their grandsons. Knives made of Green obsidian were one of the most interesting objects in the museum.
Palenque is one of the places that is a must see in Mexico. With it’s surrounding environment and points of interest such as the Aqua Azul Waterfalls, or the colorful parrots and many mysteries waiting to be found, it is an attractive touristic location.