Izamal, Yucatan

Located 40 minutes southeast of Merida, Izamal, a yellow painted town, is accessible by a good highway. North of Izamal is Motul whereas southeast of it is Chichen Itza. Izamal is worth the visit because it is both an archaeological and a colonial at

Located 40 minutes southeast of Merida, Izamal, a yellow painted town, is accessible by a good highway. North of Izamal is Motul whereas southeast of it is Chichen Itza. From Merida, buses leave every half hour and they cost 24 pesos or about 2 dollars; it takes about an hour and 15 minutes to get there.

Franciscan monk Fray Diego de Landa built the largest convent in the Americas in the early 16th century.

The "San Antonio De Padua" convent sits on top of a former Mayan temple (Pop-hol-Chac) whose stones were stripped to build the convent.

Two huge pre-Columbian structures are still easily visible at Izamal (and from some distance away in all directions).

The first is a great pyramid dedicated to the Maya Sun God, Kinich Kak Mo, with a base covering over 2 acres of ground and a volume of some 700,000 cubic meters.

Above this grand base there is a pyramid of 10 levels.

The second structure is the so called "acropolis", formerly known as Popol Chac, a large man-made mound probably built up over several centuries, and originally supporting city palaces and temples.

Little archaeological work has been done at Izamal, but it is known that it was already an important city by the start of the Classic period about 200 AD, and over 80 archaeologically important structures have been mapped here.

Izamal was the first chair of the Bishops of Yucatan before they were moved to Merida. The first Bishop of Yucatan, Diego de Landa lived here.

Pope John Paul II visited Izamal in August of 1993. He performed a mass for the Native Americans and presented the statue of the Virgin with a silver crown.

If you plan a visit to Izamal, considered doing it Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and/or Saturday, because a great Light and Sound Show – Light of the Mayas takes place these days. It is, undoubtedly, the right way to really enjoy this magical town.