----------------------------------------------- Google Site Map ----------------------------------------------- Cindy in ...: Mexico: Izamal, the Yellow City of the Yucatan

Friday, September 11, 2009

Mexico: Izamal, the Yellow City of the Yucatan

In the center of Izamal, all the buildings are painted yellow.  I'm not sure how this started, but the result is charming.  I'm not sure why this is so.  Having all the buildings in a town painted the same color should be boring and dull, but it isn't.  Even the Convent of San Antonio de Padua is the same dark yellow.

The convent is the main tourist attraction in Izamal.  The front side of the arched porticos that surround the outer courtyard form one side of the main square, or zocolo.  I enjoyed prowling the interior, climbing to rooftop terraces, and trying to imagine life there in 1549, the year it was founded.  From this convent Frey Diego de la Landa ordered the complete destruction of all Mayan artifacts and writings, in spite of his interest in Mayan culture.  Later, stricken by remorse at what he had destroyed, he recorded everything he had learned of the Maya, maybe as a sort of penance for what he had done.

There are three Mayan ruins in town.  I walked to two of them, which were unremarkable hills to an amateur eye.  I was more interested in the street that was being paved.   I had to negotiate a rather twisted path through the roadworks.  The final layer was being put down, a reddish topcoat that was stamped with a stonework pattern so it looked more like old brickwork than a new road.

I finished my day with tortas from a street stand, spicy ground pork on baguettes, freshly cooked, cheap, and delicious, then a quick walk to the bus station to catch the last bus back to Merida.

Note:  I'm writing this after returning to the US, and I am not currently in Merida.

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