Palenque: a city with Maya origins

By Daniel Juárez

An ancient metropolis surrounded by exuberant nature

Palenque is an ancient city which can be found northeast of the Mexican state of Chiapas, worldwide renowned by its namesake archeological site. This is one of the main attractions for tourists who visit Mexico due to the exuberant nature that surrounds the area and for its vast cultural richness.

palenque

Original Image: “Palenque”, by Roanld Woan, used under CC BY-NC 2.0 license, via Flickr.

Founded at the end of the 16th Century by Dominican friar Pedro Lorenzo de la Nada, Palenque roughly translates to “staked” or “impaled”, in reference to a wooden fence that surrounds the site to protect it, an image that local settlers kept for the ancient pre-Hispanic city.

A little bit of history…

It is believed that the archeological site of Palenque was founded somewhere around year 100 B.C and its development lasted almost a thousand years, after which it was abandoned for good. The buildings that can be appreciated as of today, in a magnificent jungle environment, belongs to the “Classic Period”, that which spans from year 400 to year 900 A.C. respectively.

palenque from the top

Original Image: “from up here”, by Carlos lunita lu, used under CC BY-NC 2.0 license, via Flickr.

Recent discoveries found that the Mayas had a social and religious complex structure, such as an impressive knowledge of architecture, astronomy and math. Besides, the hieroglyphics at the site speak of military history, its calendar and rituals, adding invaluable information about the culture.

The weather is warm and humid, with lots of rain during the year, and because of its rocky and mountainy terrain, it’s very rich in water sources. On Palenque’s surroundings run several rivers like Usumacinta, Chamacax, Chancalá, Chocoljaito, Bascán, Michol, San Simón, and Trapiche.

As a way of learning about the Mayas in general or as an adventurous natural landscaping, Palenque covers lots of thrilling aspects for tourists everywhere, and a definite must for history and archeological sites lovers.

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