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Izamal, Yucatàn
 Page updated on 03.10.2015
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Izamal : This is a charming colonial village located 70 km (43miles) from Mérida, on the road to Chichén Itzá. It got the nickname of "ciudad amarilla" because of its yellow-earth and white houses. This village is part of the "magic villages ". It is the oldest village in Yucatán Peninsula. Its name in Mayan language is Itzamatul or "dew coming from the sky". It is an important trade center in the region. Seven Mayan pyramids were built; one of them was used by the Spanish for the construction of the du majestic convent San Antonio de Padua.

monastery of Padua Anthony The Anthony of Padua monastery was built on top of the Popul Chac pyramid, using its stones. It is a true symbol : The most important catholic monastery of New Spain was made from the most important Mayan temple. Fray Diego de Landa and the Franciscan missionaries needed an imposing and majestic monastery in order to impose the Hispanic culture and catholic religion on the Mayan people and to mark the end of one world and the advent of another. You still can see some traces of the Mayans artisans on some stones. By the side, in the church, you can see frescos dating from the sixteenth century.

     Right picture : monastery of Padua Anthony

The convent has the biggest atrium after San Peter’s in the Vatican. Pope John Paul visited it while in Mexico in 1993. Every August 15th, there is the celebration of the Virgin of Izamal. Visitors can have a ride in a horse drawn carriage in a labyrinth of colorful streets, parks and historic places. Fray Diego de Landa (second Bishop of Yucatán in the sixteenth century) seems to be alive and talks about the everyday things of this village proud of its past. By night, experience the show of the welkin lined with the shadows of the pyramids, temples and other big colonial buildings. It feels like you are dreaming !

cemetery of Hoctun Light and Sound « Voice and Magic of Izamal », in the Convent every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8:30 PM in Spanish and Maya, with the lighted monastery in the background. It is Fantastic!

Two blocks north from the Zócalo, the Kinich Kakmó pyramid, built to honor Sun God, mainly excavated, is worth the detour. With 195 m (639 feet) wide, it was one of the biggest in the Peninsula.

On the road towards Mérida, stop at the entrance of the village of Hoctún, famous for its strange cemetery with graves painted with floral designs by local artists.

Left picture : cemetery of Hoctun

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