Palenque

Ruins of The Americas | | May 22, 2009 at 10:50 am




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Hidden in the dense forest in a spectacular mountain setting are the Mayan ruins of Palenque. It lies near the Usumacinta River in Mexico. The sire is 150 meters above sea level and is located at a distance of 130 kilometers south of Ciudad del Carem. The ruins of Palenque are famous for its complicate sculptures and have archeologists uncover many facts about the Mayan civilization. The city became a settlement as early as 300 BC but it became a commercial and religious centre in the 6th century. Due to its location the city enjoyed abundance of water from the surrounding mountain streams and waterfalls. There was an elaborate system of aqueduct to channel the water in the city. Most of the city was engulfed by the forest when the excavation first started. As of now my 30% of the city has been cleared of the forest. The total area of the archeological sites is believed to be of 25 square miles. The ruins of Palenque have been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1987.

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Temple of the Inscriptions

The construction of the temple began around 675 AD and houses the second longest glyphic text known from the Mayan world. The temple has many inscriptions and gives a detailed record of 180 yrs of cities history. The pyramid structure is 60 meters wide 42.5 meters deep and 27.2 meters high. The temple is also a tomb and the archeologists have recovered a large sarcophagus and other monuments from the Pakal’s tomb.

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Temple of the Cross group

These are three temples on the tope of a step pyramid. The three temples are the Temple of the Cross, Temple of the Sun, and Temple of the Foliated Cross. The images in the temple depict reliefs actually depict the tree of creation at the center of the world in Maya mythology.

The city has a splendid network of aqueducts including the one constructed with great stone blocks with a three-meter-high vault to make the Otulum River flow underneath the floor of main plaza. Another significant structure is the Temple of The Lion at a distance of some 200 meters south of the main group of temples. The temple has extensive bas-relief carving depicting a king seated on the throne in the form of a jaguar. Structure XII has a bas-relief carving depicting the God of Death. There is also a site museum which has an excellent collection of artifacts recovered during the conservation and excavation program. Palenque can be reached by car or bus from San Cristobal and the journey take around 5 hours.

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1 Comment

  1. vareeja says:

    The Palenque ruins uncovered the Mayan civilization. The complex sculptures indicate that the Mayans were very civilised people with knowledge about cosmos and spiritual beliefs.

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