Palenque is located in the Mexican State of Chiapas, really near to the Usumacinta River. Although Palenque is smaller than many other Maya sites, its fine architecture, roof comb, sculpture and bas-relief attracts more tourists. Consider as one of the most captivating places of Mexico, the ancient city is full of mysterious; in addition its stone temples looking out over the jungle surrounded by mountains give Palenque that unforgettable experience for travellers.
Some of the most important structures of Palenque are The Palace, which has a wild artificial terrace and is able to connect many adjacent buildings; The Temple of the Inscriptions, in which is recorded approximately 180 years of the city’s history; The Temple of the Cross group, Temple of the Sun and Temple of the Foliated Cross, which are graceful temples that illustrate two figures that are a representation of ritual objects and simulate to a central icon; and many more.
The way of transportation to Palenque would be sometimes difficult, but once the travellers are there, the enthusiasm of the viewing is well worth. Also, there is the opportunity to rent a car for the most adventurous, driving from San Cristobal to Palenque for five hours, however, do not neglect be aware for potholes and obstructions, as same as, do not forget to keep your passport and travel documents with you for the military roadblocks.
The origin of one of the mightiest cities of the Mayan starts as a farming around the Early Classic era and two hundred years later, the origin people developed trading links with some other cities of the region becoming one of the most important.
According to the Scientifics, was in the seventh century when Palenque started its heyday period, and was during this time when the most famous and impressive structures were all built becoming fruition its unique style of art, but Palenque’s history is much more longer than it is currently know.
Palenque’s history started during the early classic period being its first ajaw or king K’uk’ B’ahlam that means Quetzal Jaguar, and according to the text found in the Temple of the Foliated Croos, he was also called Toktan Ajaw. He started in the year 431 and governed for four years. After him, there is a list of many successors including Gasparin, Gasparin’s sons, B'utz Aj Sak Chiik, Akhal Mo' Naab I, who was known as the teenage prince and for some reason he had a great prestige. When he died in 541, there was no king until 529 when K'an Joy Chitam I governed for 36 years, and were his both sons: Ahkal Mo' Naab II and K'an B'alam I who added the term KINICH that means great son. After that, B'alam I was succeeded by his daughter Yok Iknal in 583, who governed for only three years occurring the troop’s invasion from Calakmul and sacking of Palenque.
Twelve years later, in 611, under the government of Aj Ne' Yohl Mat, son of Yol Iknal, the king of Calakmul got another victory creating in Palenque a military disaster and a political disorder. By this time, when the Late Classic Period started, was Janaab Pakak who assumed the function of the kings, but never were crowned. However, his daughter Sak K’uk’ was crowned as queen, who governed for other three years.
But, was Janaab Pakak’s son who re-establishes the glory and splendour of Palenque as never seen before. His name was K'inich Janaab' Pakal, also known as Pakal the Great, he started his government at age of 12 and was for sixty eight years, from 615 to 683, who was called the favourite of the gods, and whose monumental Temple of the Inscriptions was a self-commissioned tomb. During all this time, most of the constructions were built, eclipsing Tikal, but at the same time, taking alliances with Tikal, Yaxchilan, and many more.
Pakal got married with the princess of Oktan in 624 resulting two children; who both in 683, after the dead of Pakal, his older son K'inich Kan B'alam assumed the kingship followed by his brother K'inich K'an Joy Chitam II. He also followed the teachings of his father with the same enthusiasm, growing the splendour of Palenque.
However, in 711, Palenque was sacked again by the king of Toniná and taken prisoner the old K'inich K'an Joy Chitam II. For long 10 years there was no king, until in 722, K'inich Ahkal Mo' Nab' III was crowned, but the defeat of Palenque was getting bigger. For these reasons, Maya people abandoned this archaeological site and just some agricultural population continue living here for a few generations until the Spaniards arrived in the 16th century.
The first foreign that visit the ruins was the Father Pedro Lorenzo de la Nada in 1567, who roughly translated otolum into Spanish, giving the name of “Palenque”, which means fortification. The core of the city also has a name and it was Lakam Ha that means big water due to its many springs and cascades.