Bonampak Ruins
Chiapas, México

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BonampakIf your timing is right you'll get to see "them." Considering the difficulty in getting there, four military checkpoints and an "unofficial" toll gate, your timing had better be right. Located in the Lacandon Rainforest atop the Sierra Jalapa range at the end of a 5 mile rocky road, lies the small ruins of Bonampak. Any other ruin of this size might just as well be missed, but not this one. This is the only place you will ever see "them."

StructureThree rooms - that's all there is. About halfway up the main city steps is a platform with a small three room building on the right. The building is covered with an ugly tin roof. It used to be much uglier. But in these rooms...well...they're the only ones left. Murals. Wall Murals. Magnificent Wall Murals. From floor to very tip top. Painted on all sides. Murals.


You can enter the rooms albeit only about a foot or two. There is a railing around and a "NO FLASH" sign but 400ASA or 1000ASA will do just fine. Don't just take pictures though; look at them, they're the only ones left. Each room tells part of a story about life, war, conquest, and celebration, both from an earthly perspective - the lower half, and a heavenly perspective - the upper half.

BonampakEven the lintels over the doorways tell part of the story. Carved and painted, the lintels show three scenes of the ruler and his captive. In fact, they show us the last moments of this captive's life.

An extremely large stela is the focus of the main plaza with several other well preserved stelea on the main temple steps. A walk up to the top of these steps, or in the surrounding jungle, will lead to more buildings, some with equally impressive lintels.

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