The Palenque Ruins

June 23, 2015

Palenque is one of the most important Mayan ruins. The ruins date from 226 - 799 AD. I wanted to get there before the swarms of tourists, so I got up early and was waiting at the gate at 7:30am. The park doesn’t open until 8, so I had some tacos for breakfast and then was the first person into the ruins. In fact, for the first hour I was pretty much the only person around. The ruins are fairly big so I didn’t see anyone else until I circled back to where the entrance was. It was like being in a separate world. Just me, the ruins, and my imagination on what it must’ve been like to live there 1500 years ago.

One of the first things I noticed was how this was very unlike the other Mayan ruins I’ve been to. Whereas Teotihuacán is flat and Monte Albán is on the hills with a view that stretches for miles, Palenque is buried in jungle. Although I was alone, there was a fairly loud buzz the entire time I was there, presumably some kind of insects. Animals cried and howled in the thick trees that surrounded the stone temples. The soundtrack to the ruins was one of my favorite parts.

Palenque, Mexico - The Ruins
Palenque, Mexico - The Ruins

Palenque, Mexico - The Ruins
Ok, so this little shack isn't going to win awards for the most impressive structure at Palenque, but god damn is it picturesque. I loved it.
Palenque, Mexico - The Ruins

Palenque, Mexico - The Ruins
Palenque, Mexico - The Ruins

Palenque, Mexico - The Ruins
Palenque, Mexico - The Ruins

Palenque, Mexico - The Ruins
Palenque, Mexico - The Ruins

Palenque, Mexico - The Ruins
Palenque, Mexico - The Ruins

Palenque, Mexico - The Ruins
You could actually crawl through a lot of the ruins. Some of the vaulted ceilings were still in tact. And some of the hallways and rooms were claustrophobically small.
Palenque, Mexico - The Ruins

Palenque, Mexico - The Ruins
Palenque, Mexico - The Ruins

Palenque, Mexico - The Ruins
Most of the big buildings were temples, with either a religious purpose or in memory of one of the rulers. They made really intricate carvings for the center of the temples.
Palenque, Mexico - The Ruins

Palenque, Mexico - The Ruins
Palenque, Mexico - The Ruins

Palenque, Mexico - The Ruins
I went down into that. It was a tiny crawlspace. I'm surprised they let people crawl through ruins like this anymore. But I'm not complaining; it was so cool!
Palenque, Mexico - The Ruins

Most of Palenque still hasn’t been excavated yet. It’s crazy to think that most of the ancient city is still underground. But what they have uncovered is great.

Penned on June 23, 2015 by Kevin Sweet.

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