Izamal: The Yellow City

Izamal, The Yellow City, is one of the 35 “Magical Towns” of Mexico. If you have ever been to Mackinac Island, Michigan you can relate to the site and sounds of The Yellow City. The entire downtown is painted in a egg-yolk yellow. The streets are made of cobblestone and the sound of horse, the main source of all transportation, are prevalent.

izamal, horse carriage

Being in Izamal is like Christopher Reeves closing his eyes and awakening in the early 20th century with horse drawn carriages and colonial living. We were only there for a short time but wanted to experience what drew Pope John Paul there in 1993. The Virgin of the Immaculate Conception enjoys that devotion

Driving into town you’ll see that all of the downtown areas are painted yellow with cobblestone streets and period streetlights. You should rent a calesa to give you a tour and experience that first sounds Christopher Reeves heard in “Somewhere in Time” on Mackinac Island. The clip-clop of the horses will take you somewhere in time!

Izamal is in the middle of Yucatan and is considered the oldest of the colonial cities. The Franciscan monks at this time burned the books/codices of the Maya and Fray Diego, repentant for burning the codices, attempted to re-write the scripts and Mayan rites.

Izamal church, yellow, colonial church

Izamal, since Mayan times, and after, was known for its power of healing. In Mayan time the pilgrimage was mandatory and the transition from that Mayan city into the Spaniard city built atop that city continues to this day.

The church and windows dedicated to Saint Francisco de Assisi, and the Immaculate Conception, along with the entire church is built upon the base of a long past forgotten Mayan temple. In fact, the entire town is built within a Mayan city and the Kinich Kakmo .

Our family drove by the entrance and I yelled out to stop! We began to climb the stairs but only my step son and I continued. My wife and her father were more interested in the abandoned homes along the base of the pyramid and along the street.

On October 18th & December 8th, the locals commemorate the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception. They are celebrations that are not to be missed if in the Yucatan. Izamal, church window, mother mary It has been known for its powers of healing since 300 A.D. Izam Na, the god of healing and lesser deities. The Spaniards forced the destruction of the main temple and the construction of the church. Izamal’s reputation for healing has not subsided and continues to be the place of many miracles.

Each set of stairs revealed, more and more, how large this pyramid was. As we climbed higher we took more pictures but when we arrived to the top we were met with another huge pyramid. I’ve been there many times but never had the energy to cover the whole complex nor climb the final pyramid. It’s simply to far away from the edge of the top level to do.

They have restored all of the building facades in the downtown area and closer inspection reveals the number of houses waiting to be restored and rebuilt. The facades have been restored and if you are in search of simple living, this is your place.

If you are in the area, spend the evening and enjoy the Light and Sound show at 8:30 with all of its local pageantry. The show will allow you to meander into the local culture and return to Merida within 45 minutes.

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