Mexico city, Mexico
February 5, 2005
You travel by a nicely kept road into the middle of the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve, one of the least disturbed jungles in Mexico. On the last portion of the trip, you arrive at the gate of Bonampak Reserve and are switched to local van (only the official vehicles of the reserve are allowed inside) for the few kilometers to the ruins. There you are met by local Lacandon natives selling their handmade souvenirs, which are very nice and range from wooden flutes to paintings on Amate paper to wood carvings of Jaguars or birds and serpents to small hand-decorated pottery.
This is a very small archeological site, it wouldn't arise any interest save for one reason, the murals. The paintings on one of the buildings is the main and most powerful reason to reach this far into the jungle, in the whole Mayan area there are no other mural paintings in such a good state of conservation. When you enter the main plaza, you get a magnificent view of a few temples and some estelae (big slabs of stone carved with glyphs with the tales of kings doing some public rituals). The main attraction of the site is a small temple with three small rooms, all of them decorated with mural paintings all over the walls and ceiling, that narrate the story of one of the local kings in different stages of his life. Don't forget to look up at each entrance, as there are also stone carvings called dintel depicting, again, the king performing some rituals. All of this has been kept in good shape thanks to the remoteness of the site and that over many centuries after the original kingdom abandoned the site, some Mayan tribes established their realm in the area, basically the Lacandones. And they had kept on celebrating rituals in the temples.
The Best Mayan Murals,
Chiapas, land of water and trees