A large grassy plaza on the Palace ’s north side is flanked by several structures. Closest to the palace is Palenque ’s ball court, notable for its I-shaped playing area and believed to have doubled as a site for ritual sacrifices. Perpendicular to the ball court is the North Group, made up of five temples, most quite deteriorated.
Temple II is the best preserved, a sturdy stone structure crowning a terraced platform; at the foot of the stairs is a well-preserved stucco molding depicting Tláloc, a deity most likely introduced to the Maya by emissaries from the great central Mexican city of Teotihuacán, near present-day Mexico City.
Finally, the Temple of the Count is a similarly stout structure atop a supporting pyramid, so-named for Jean-Fréderic Waldeck, an eccentric French count who lived there in the early 1830s, and whose embellished drawings and wild speculations fostered lasting misconceptions of the Maya, especially regarding an alleged connection to ancient Egypt.
A well-marked path leads from the palace, past the Ball Court, and down a steep hillside to the main road. Along the way you’ll pass the Grupo Murciélagos (Bats Group), a maze of low foundations that most likely served as elite residential quarters, and Baño de la Reina (Queen’s Bath), a scenic waterfall and pool; swimming is no longer permitted, however. This is a good way to exit the ruins (assuming you came by combi)—the path emerges from the trees not far from Palenque’s museum .