Palenque Ruins
photos by Don and Lois Porter

The Mayan ruins at Palenque are the very model of a "lost city". They were completely covered in jungle for hundreds of years after being abandoned around 900AD. In the 1560s the Spanish established a town nearby, named Palenque. When some Mayan descendents discovered the ruins in the late 18th century, they told the Spaniards. Soon after, in 1787, Captain del Rio was dispatched from Madrid to investigate after Friar Ramon de Ordonez y Agular reported that indeed it appeared that the Greeks or Romans had built a city here. In the Temple of Inscriptions, Pacal, the most important ruler ("ahau") of Palenque had recorded detailed and credible dates and names for the entire sequence of ahauob from March 431 through his rule which lasted from 615AD to 683AD. His son Chan Bahlum II ruled from 684 to 702. Chan Bahlum II did his best to exceed his father's impressive accomplishments, by building the group of temples that includes Temple of the Cross, Temple of the Foliated Cross, and Temple of the Sun. The most impressive relief carvings are associated with Pacal and Chan Bahlum II. After 702AD, the city began to decline: the last date recorded in stone is 799AD. The site includes many structures spread over a broad area of beautiful forest, mountains, and rivers, although only the central groups are excavated.


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Temple of the Skull Temple of the Cross Temple of Inscriptions

Palacio windows

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Palacio arches Palacio tower Chan Bahlum II Temple of Inscriptions from Palacio
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Temple of the foliated cross from Palacio

Temple of the foliated cross

Temple of the Sun Temple of the Sun from Temple of the Cross
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Temple of the Sun, Temple XIV, and Temple of Inscriptions from Temple of the Cross Temple of Inscriptions and Palacio from Temple of the Cross Palacio Tower from Temple of the Cross Temple of the Count with Palacio in background
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Near the Murcielagos group Queen's Bath waterfalls Otolum river Near Group C

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