The Palenque archeological site sets itself apart from other popular ruins in Mexico with its location — a dense and thriving jungle encircles the pyramids.
What you’ll find at the archaeological site was once known as Lakam Ha (Big Water), and it was the center of Maya city-state called B’aakal (Bone). It was created as early as 100 BC, and it fell around 800 AD.
The jungle had already taken it over by the time the Spanish arrived, and much of the former city state is still under the jungle’s control. So in addition to the wildness, there is a quiet mystery about the place.
I spent a morning walking around the site and climbing the pyramids to sit atop them and think, imagine, and wonder.
Flowering heliconia plants just beyond the entrance.
The Temple of Inscriptions — the most made over of the temples. Inside this temple is the tomb of Pakal, a man who ruled the city state for almost 70 years.
The Patio of the Captives inside the Palace.
Bas-reliefs in the Patio of the Captives. The courtyard is named this way because these images likely depict prisoners of war.
A cross shaped window in the Palace.
The Temple of the Foliated Cross on top of a pyramid still covered with dirt and grass. The steps up were precarious and it was worth it for the lovely setting.
The steps of the huge pyramid that the Temple of the Cross sits upon.
A side view of the Temple of the cross. It’s partially left as is, partially excavated, and partially restored.
A view of the ruins from the Temple of the Cross.
A view of the Temple of the Sun and the jungle beyond from the Temple of the Cross.
I spotted a large iguana crawling around the Temple of the Cross pyramid.
A mother and son take a break at the Temple of the Cross and enjoy the jungle view.
Bas-reliefs on the walls inside the Temple of the Cross.
The ball court.
An unnamed structure on the north side of the ruins.
Inside the Palenque Museum, you can gain more insight into the people who used to inhabit the location.
A sculpture of a Mayan warrior.