Because palenque is so interesting, the campground right next to it so great but mainly because we met our friends chantelle and joshua again (overlander from canada and the us), we stayed longer. Visited the museum with a replicate of the grave of king pakal (the original tomb has been closed because of conservatiion reasons) and had been a second time at the archaeological site late in the afternoon.
By the way here is a really good restaurant recommendation: don mucho’s, directly at the national park gate (to the left, 300 feet)
A very beautiful and well-known maya site is palenque which can also be seen in the number of visitors. The city was founded about 300 ad and and it got abandoned in 799 ad. It has not yet been clarified why the great exodus had happened. The most likely explanation is probably an ecological catastrophy. It has now been shown that in the years of 500 -1000 ad more and more stronger periods of droughts had happened and the land became increasingly deserted, because the mayans had cut down the rainforest for calcinating limestone. Probably up to 4 million mayas had lived in this area. The peasants were no longer able to provide enough food for the huge cities, hunger crises forced the survivors to leave the area. The knowledge of culture, writing and astronomy disappeared with them.
66.04 million +/- 32.000 years ago the chicxulub meteroit hit the yucatan peninsula (near the present village chicxulub puerto) and caused a crater in the diameter of 180km (inner circle) and 300km (outer circle), and it reached 20km into the earth. The meteroid had a diameter of 10km, was 20 to 40km / sec fast and exploded with the power of at least 200 million hiroshima bombs. Today the impact crater is not recognizable in the landscape, however, due to the shockwave many cenotes owe therfore their existence . The chicxulub meteroid was probably the last thing the dinosaurs had seen and with them nearly 75% of the biodiversity became extincted.
The painter Ralf Walter, who was born in Dessau, left East-Germany and went to West Germany, then to New York City and further on to Mexico. More than 30 years ago he has discovered the sleepy fisherman village Chicxulub Puerto on the Gulf of Mexico together his wife who had sadly passed away. Behind his little mexican house with the turquoise window-shutters, his studio is hidden in a palm grove. Ralf tells us how the native weavers and their handling of colors had influenced him in his style and especially in the usage of color.
Today I would like to present some cenotes. On the yucatan peninsula is the world’s highest density of these dolina-like limestone pits, created by the collapse of the cave ceilings and filled with fresh water. Some thousands are known and most of them follow the rim of the chicuxlub crater. (i will try to introduce the chicxulub krater in an upcoming blog contribution!) Unfortunately, the often spectacular collapsed caves were made accessible for tourists with unnecessarily much concrete, however, these underworlds are always impresssive and they played an importand role in the maya culture.