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Mexico> Pacific Coast> Palenque> El Palacio

Mexico - Pacific Coast

El Palacio

( Sightseeing / Archaeological Sites )

A Karen Brown Recommendation

El Palacio (The Palace): This huge, imposing complex is quite unlike others in the Mayan world. It looks more like a structure one might expect to find in Europe, with a slender, tall watchtower, a labyrinth of intricate rooms, a series of inner courtyards, galleries faced by columns, and exquisite stucco designs. This building is thought to have been the dwelling of royalty, since steam baths and bedrooms were found here. What is especially interesting about this building is that many of the rooms still have roofs, making it easier to visualize what life here might have been like. It is fun to explore this maze of rooms via dimly lit passageways. El Palacio is the building that the intrepid explorer, John Lloyd Stephens, and his talented artist colleague, Frederic Catherwood, chose to make their home when visiting Palenque. These two men explored this fascinating region between 1839 and 1841, laying the groundwork for later archaeological expeditions. Before heading off to Mexico, borrow Stephens’s book, Incidents of Travel in Yucatán, Volume II, from your local library. It is enthralling to gaze at Catherwood’s wonderful illustrations, and see what Palenque looked like before being rescued from its slumber of many years within the jungle.

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