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[an error occurred while processing this directive]Pre-Hispanic City and National Park of Palenque, Mexico[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Ancient Maya site of Palenque in Chiapas, Mexico
[an error occurred while processing this directive] Pre-Hispanic City and National Park of Palenque is a World Heritage Site in the city of Palenque, in the state of Chiapas, Mexico. What we have here are the ruins of an ancient Maya city that reached the pinnacle of its glory between AD 500 and AD 700.
At Palenque, we see some of the finest Maya architecture, and new techniques introduced in the construction that enabled the Mayans to create slimmer walls that are ornately adorned. The effect provides a glimpse at the craftsmanship of the Maya people which reached a new height at Palenque.
Ancient ruins of Palenque
Unlike the Teotihuacan civilization, the Mayas do not have a centralized capital for the empire, but is a collection of city states that are semi-autonomous and independent from one another. Being spread out over a wide area that covers present-day Mexico as well as Guatemala, Honduras, Belize and El Salvador, and without a centralized command, the Maya empire presents a diversity in architectural style and artform.
What we see at Palenque is just a tip of a metaphorical ancient iceberg, so to speak, for the monuments represent the buildings in the heart of a city that once covered some 8 sq km. When the Mayas created Palenque, they modified the topography according to their needs. The site is located between the Chiapas mountains and the northern lowlands. Within this area, the Maya built a canal to divert the water of the Usumacinta River so that it flows right thorugh their city. The canal is called Otulum, meaning "fortified houses".
Temple of the Sun, Palenque
The name Palenque was given by the Spanish. The actual Maya name for this ancient site has been lost to time. Although the tail-end of the Maya civilization was still present when the Spanish arrived, the Maya civilization had long declined, and even then, Palenque was already an ancient site enveloped by the jungle and half-buried. Serious conservation work on Palenque did not begin until as recently as 1940.
Pre-Hispanic City and National Park of Palenque was inscribed as a World Heritage Site during the 11th session of the World Heritage Committee in Paris, France, 7 - 11 December, 1987.
Funerary mask of King Pakal of Palenque, now in National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City
World Heritage Site Inscription DetailsLocation:
Inscription Year: 1987
Type of Site: Cultural
Inscription Criteria: I, II, III, IV
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