Mexico-2669 - Palenque

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The Mayan site of Palenque - View from the Temple of the Cross, Palace complex to the right and Temple of Inscriptions to the left.


Palenque is a Spanish word for "fortification". An ancient name for the city was Lakam Ha, which translates as "Great Water", for the springs and small rivers which flow from the site.


Palenque is definitely one of the most beautiful sites in all of Mesoamerica. The richest and most elaborate tomb ever discovered in Mexico is located in the Temple of Inscriptions at Palenque. Lord Pakal's tomb is now closed as is the Temple of Inscriptions.


The first permanent settlement of Palenque was about 300 AD. The apex of Maya civilization begins about 600 AD. During the next hundred years, the rulers of Palenque commissioned some of the best Maya artwork discovered. Most of the great structures in Palenque's central area date from this time period. These works were built by the two greatest Palenque rulers, K'inich Janaab' Pakal I and his oldest son,

K’inich Kan B’alam II.


After 731 AD. most construction had stopped. Unfortunately, Palenque's best known 8th century ruler, K'inich K'an Joy Chitam II, is famous only for his defeat and capture in 711 AD by the new military power of Tonina. By 810 AD. the ritual activity in Palenque comes to an end.


Then by 900 AD. Palenque becomes deserted and reclaimed by the forest.

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Taken on February 26, 2007