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Palenque - Mayan - Overview



Type of Spiritual Experience


from guide book

"The hauntingly beautiful ruins of Palenque, nestle in lush green vegetation of tropical rain forest in the foothills of the Sierra Madre de Chiapas.  They are situated on a natural shelf overlooking the vast fertile plains that stretch to the Gulf Coast.  The architecture of the site is harmoniously incorporated into this natural setting.  Here, the usual plan of rectangular plazas is forsaken for the natural topography of streams, hills and precipices.  The result is a compelling arrangement, more graceful than monumental.
Only the central area dating from Palenque's period of greatest power [AD 600-800] is exposed, its once red buildings now white from erosion.  The finest structures of this centre were constructed within approximately 80 years during the reign of Lord Pacal and Lord Chan-Bahlum.
Palenque's artists created new architectural forms of sloping mansard roofs on slender walled temples and executed a multitude of masterful, yet delicate, low relief carvings in stucco and stone.  Prior to Pacal's reign, Palenque was a minor site, with little monumental architecture.  Palenque was abandoned earlier than most Classic lowland sites, the last dated work is from AD799"

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