In all of the New World no country can compete with Mexico in terms of the numbers or grandeur of ruins left by the ancient civilizations. Mexico was home to once mighty civilizations of Aztecs and Mayans who have left such marvelous pieces of architecture behind them that makes the beholders gasp even today. Teotihuacán just outside the Mexico City was the capital of the Aztec empire and the temples and palaces left by this great civilization attracts thousands of tourists from world wide each year but if you are looking for the most ancient ruins of Mexico that are still in a very good shape then head to the Mayan city of Palenque. Maya ruled large swathes of Mexico for more than two millennia, they were the predecessors of the Aztecs and such was the might and grandeur of the buildings created by Mayans that the Aztecs considered them as made by giants rather than humans. Palenque is still not fully unearthed as most of the city is still covered by dense jungle but what has been unearthed is enough to mesmerize a visitor to this ancient city.
Palenque was the strongest city state of the Mayan era and today although it’s not the largest ruins of that era but the feel attached to this Mayan lost city makes it a unique travel destination. Reason is the dense jungle that surrounds the city giving it a feel of some thing out of a tomb raider or Indiana Jones movie. There is a small airport in the surrounding area of Villahermosa but if you are traveling from outside the country then you will have to get flights to Mexico City and then either a connecting flight to Villahermosa or a ride on the local bus service can take you to these mighty ruins. The archaeologists have unearthed around 2.5 sq km of the Palenque ruins and they believe that this is only the 10 percent of the total size of the city.
The city was established around a 100 BC as a small settlement but it really flourished and became the most prominent city state of Mayan civilization in the 7th century AD. El Panchan an old hangout place just outside the ruins is the place you will first need to head to for arranging your accommodation. The bars and clubs of the area are a good way to get more information about the city as most of the archaeologists working on the ruins like to relax there and are always open to letting people know about the history of this gorgeous city.
It is recommended that you hire the services of a seasoned guide to take you on a tour of the city as he will know the way well and will also brief you about the history of the place. The real attraction of the ruins is its pyramid shaped temples that have been given names according to Latin numbers. At the entry to the ruins you will find a line of temples going to the right starting with the XII temple. The climate is humid so it will be a good idea to make your trip in the early hours of the day as the heat may get a little unbearable in the day time. The ruins may not be as large as in Tikal but with their lost city like feel and the nightlife of El Panchan they will surely provide you with a memorable time.