Here let me offer a wider variety of photos of our trip into the City of Hills

A rather dour looking Franciscan. The Inquisition comes to Yucatan. More information for those interested can be found at Diego de Landa:

Bishop Diego de Landa

Looking up the long entrance to Convento de San Antonio, and subsequent views as we enter the atrium:

Also known as the San Antonio de Padua Convent, the church was built starting in 1553 by Bishop Diego de Landa. Construction was completed in 1561.

This atrium has 75 arches and covers almost two acres. This makes it the largest closed atrium in America, and the second largest closed atrium after St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican:

Pope John Paul II visited Izamal in 1993 and held a special meeting and Mass specifically for the indigenous people of the area. Lots more on his visit offered by the Washington Post:

The church was built on the site of Yucatan’s largest Mayan temple, and blocks from the temple were used for its construction. The Mayan priests who helped in the building of the church made sure certain stones were properly placed in the new building to offer the people the proper protection from their traditional deities. As the original Mayan temple was Pap hol Chac (The House of Chaac) I suspect this stone glyph represented Chaac (the upturned nose in prayer for rain):

A sundial on the roof of the inner courtyard:

The chapel altar. The Virgin is behind glass, and appears through doors located behind the statue on a schedule. The history of the Virgin of Izamal is quite noteworthy. In his efforts to sway the Mayans from idolatry Diego de Landa persuaded the Mayans to worship the Virgin Mary. The people managed to raise the money to commission two large statues of the Virgin from a carver in Guatamala. The Mayans carried the two statues in crates back to Yucatan. One resides in Merida, and the other in the Sanctuary of the Virgin of Izamal at the convent. Miracles are associated with these stories and can be found discussed at The Izamal Convent and its Miracles:

Given that the statue of the Madonna was created in the 16th century it is no surprise it is behind glass and often encased behind closed doors on the altar. (Her appearance is not unlike a cuckoo clock if the reader will forgive what is not intended as any sacrilege.) She is about human size, and more can be read on this important icon at

Above the roofs and “under” the radio tower we can see the remains of a Mayan structure. We tried to access this, but it is completely surrounded by the shops and local buildings. Fun walking the streets, regardless. It is not like we haven’t seen enough Mayan ruins, and of course there is another easily accessed temple nearby:

Speaking of which … the Temple of Kinich Kokmo looks to be within easy walking distance as viewed from the church courtyard:

The backside of the church is unpainted and without stucco, giving us a sense of the Mayan temple stones used in its construction:

A lot of pride is in evidence should you want to take a romantic spin through the streets in a local taxi:

And of course we are going to climb one more temple. Yucatan is rather flat country, and the best views are atop these temples:

Looking back at town from the first landing:

Climbing a rather steep pitch. Most of what is left of the steps is rather rough and “unfinished”:

Coming down is a little more unnerving than climbing up, given the rough nature of what is left of the steps:

South of Izamal, west of the town of Holca, we found the Chihuan Cenote, a subterranean cenote that provided the perfect refreshment at the end of a hot day. Beautifully lit and expansive, the ropes led back into an extensive cave. One does not want to get lost back there:

Back to Izamal