The Temple of the Inscription is probably one of the most famous monuments of the whole Maya area. And the most impressive memorial to a single person in all of ancient America.
The temple is located on the southern side of the main plaza at the pre-Columbian Maya civilization site of Palenque, located in the modern-day state of Chiapas Yucatan, Mexico.
The Temple of the Inscriptions is the largest Mesoamerican stepped pyramid structure. It owes its name to the fact that its walls are covered with one of the longest carved inscription of the Maya area, including 617 glyphs. The construction of the temple began around AD 675, by the king whose monument it was to become – the important king of Palenque K’inich Janaab’ Pakal or (“Pacal the Great”) and was completed by his son Kan Balam II to honor his father, who died in A.D. 683. His body was interred under the temple pyramid in the most grandiose crypt and sarcophagus known outside ancient Egypt.
The structure consists of a “temple” structure that sits atop an eight-stepped pyramid (for a total of nine levels), visible on its front side, reaching a height of about 21 meters (about 100 feet). On its back side, the pyramid is adjoined to a natural hill.
The top temple has five doorways and is covered by a masonry vault. In the front of the building are surrounded by piers bearing both carved images and the hieroglyphic texts in Maya script for which the temple was named. And its interior walls are covered by the second longest glyphic inscription of the entire Maya area.
Inside the temple, beneath the floor of an inner room a hidden stairway leads to a funerary crypt 80 feet below. The crypt contained a burial chamber and a skeleton covered with jade ornaments and other precious jewels. This famous finding was discovered in 1952 by the Mexican archaeologist Alberto Ruiz Lhuiller .
The building of the temple was one of the reasons that Palenque became such an important spiritual center for the Mayans.