San Cristóbal de las Casas is a town and municipality located in the Central Highlands region of the Mexican state of Chiapas.
Once a powerful seat of Mayan civilization, the jungles and lake lands of modern-day Chiapas, and specifically San Cristóbal de las Casas, harbors a wealth of impressive Mayan ruins, some so remote that they weren’t discovered until the 1940’s and others renowned for their unique mix of Mexican and Guatemalan architectural styles.
The most important archaeological site in Chiapas is Palenque, a 15-square kilometer site operated between 300 and 900 AD, situated in the Tumbala mountains, encircled by rainforest. A UNESCO World Heritage site and National Park, the Palenque ruins are characterized by the exquisitely preserved temples and pyramid tombs, most notably the Temples of the Crosses and the Temple of the Inscriptions, which includes the grand burial chamber of King Pakal.
Palenque is a medium-sized site, much smaller than other sites like Tikal or Chichen Itza, but it contains some of the finest architecture, sculpture, roof comb and bas-relief carvings that the Mayans produced. Much of the history of Palenque has been reconstructed from reading the hieroglyphic inscriptions on the many monuments. Historians have a long sequence of the ruling dynasty of Palenque in the 5th century and extensive knowledge of the city’s rivalry with other states.
Deservedly one of the top destinations for discovering Mexican culture and Archaeology, the soaring jungle-swathed temples of Palenque are a national treasure and one of the best examples of Mayan architecture in Mexico.