Palenque (Bàak’ in Modern Maya) was a Maya city state in southern Mexico that flourished in the seventh century CE. After its decline it was absorbed into the jungle, but has been excavated and restored and is now a famous archaeological site attracting thousands of visitors. It is located near the Usumacinta River in the Mexican state of Chiapas, located about 130 km south of Ciudad del Carmen (see map) about 150 meters above sea-level. It is a medium-sized site, much smaller than such huge sites as Tikal or Copán, but it contains some of the finest architecture, sculpture, roof comb and bas-relief carvings the Maya produced. Much of the history of Palenque has been reconstructed from reading the hieroglyphic inscription on the many monuments, and historians now have a long sequence of the ruling dynasty of Palenque in the seventh century and extensive knowledge of the city states rivalry with other states such as Calakmul and Toniná. The most famous ruler of Palenque is Pacal the Great whose tomb has been found and excavated in the temple of the inscriptions.
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