Earth : North America : Mexico : Yucatán Peninsula : Yucatán : Izamal
Izamal is a small city in Yucatán, about 70km east of the capital, Mérida. It has deep roots in the Maya and Spanish colonial past, with impressive historic architecture. By local tradition, yellow is the color most buildings are painted.
In ancient Maya times Izamal was sacred to the Creator God "Itzamna" and to the Sun God "Kinich Ahau". The city was a place of pilgrimage from throughout the Maya lands.
When the Spanish conquered Yucatán, the followed their usual practice of building a new Spanish town atop the Maya city, but at Izamal some of the Maya structures were so massive that the Spanish contented themselves with putting churches and convents on top of them rather than demolishing them completely.
Izamal is still a regional place of pilgrimage, only now worshipers come to pay homage to the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception, also known as Our Lady of Izamal. Pope John Paul II visited Izamal in 1993 and presented the statue of the Virgin with a silver crown.
The Maya, Colonial Spanish, and Modern mix comfortably in Izamal. The Maya language is still often heard here spoken here, although most people also have at least a working knowledge of Spanish.
If you drove in park your car near one of the 3 plazas around the Monastery complex at the center of town; sites of interest are within walking distance.
On Sundays from about 9a to 3p, locals gather at Parque Zamna (the park on the north side of the Monastery) for a paseo with live music, vendors, and refreshments.
Several restaurants. Most are not open late.
A few hotels and bed & breakfasts in town.
A couple of cyber cafes ("Ciber Café") in town; one is by the bus station. Some hotels also offer internet access.
The post office is north of the Municipal Palace; one can also make long distance phone calls from here.