I don’t believe in magic. Except once in a blue moon. Maybe.
And then I visit Izamal in Yucatan. Izamal is one of Mexico’s 35 towns that has been *officially* declared “Pueblo Mágico”. The town is entirely painted yellow … colonial buildings, the market, the huge convent, everything! There are cobblestone streets, large iron lampposts, and the comforting sound of the clippity-clop of horses pulling the calesas.
Sitting under one of the arches of this magnificent courtyard, as twilight sets in, it gets harder to not believe in a little bit of magic.
Oh, well, this must have been a blue moon night. After all, how often do I find myself in a magical town?
Text and Photos by VJ Singh | Far/Back | Izamal, Yucatan, Mexico | Jan 2013. All Rights Reserved.
Have you been to any of the other ‘magical towns’ in Mexico? Send a picture?
Here are some pictures I took from my trip two years ago.
The pyramid at Izamal is massive. And I mean, massive. When I went to visit I went up this small path (first picture) and did not realize I was going up the actual pyramid. I thought the pyramid on top was the Izamal pyramid (second picture) situated on a hill (third pyramid). Another tourist informed me that the hill was the pyramid and it blew me away. I’ve included a screenshot from Google Earth to show how big it is. The rest of the pictures are from me poking around the other sides and realizing just how huge this thing was.
Apparently the nunnery across the way was made from reused building materials from a second pyramid just as massive as this one that the Spanish destroyed.
Izamal is an important archaeological site of the Pre-ColumbianMaya civilization. It is probably the biggest city of the Northern Yucatec Plains, covering a minimal urban extension of 53 square kilometers. Its monumental buildings exceed 1,000,000 cubic meters of constructive volume and at least two raised causeways, known by their Mayan term sacbeob, connect it with other important centers, Ruins of Ake, located 29 kilometers to the west and, Kantunil, 18 kilometers to the south, evidencing the religious, political and economical power of this political unit over a vast territory, of more than 5000 square kilometers in extension. Izamal developed a particular constructive technique consisting in the use of megalithic carved blocks, with defined architectonical characteristics like rounded corners, projected mouldings and thatched roofs at superstructures, which also appeared in other important urban centers within its hitherland, such as Ake, Uci and Dzilam. The city was founded during the Late Formative Period (750-200 B.C.) and was continuously occupied until the Spanish Conquest. The most important constructive activity stage spans between Protoclassic (200 B.C. - 200 A.D) through Late Classic (600-800 A.D). It was partially abandoned with the rise of Chichen Itza in the Terminal Classic (800-1000 A.D.) until the end of the Precolumbian era, when Izamal was considered a site of pilgrimages in the region, rivaled only by Chichen Itza. Its principal temples were sacred to the creator deity Itzamna and to the Sun God Kinich Ahau.