Izamal

The school was not open because on friday because it’s a national holiday in Mexico. So instead I went to visit Izamal with Alma. We took a bus into centro and managed to find a combi (basically a mini bus) that was heading to Izamal. I’m not sure if they have a timetable or anything, the driver just waited until the bus was full, and then he left. The journey took about an hour and cost M$25 (about £1.30).

Izamal is a small town about 60km east of Merida and is known as “The Yellow City” (because most of the buildings in the centre are painted yellow) and the “The City of Hills”, although it doesn’t actually have any hills (there aren’t really any hills in the Yucatan), but it does have several archaeological sites with partially covered ruins of Mayan pyramids.

The main site in Izamal is a Franciscan Convent that was build over one of the Mayan pyramids, using stone from the pyramid.

The ruins are all close to the main plaza, and are all free. The first site I visited was called Itzamatul. From the street you can see the stonework of the pyramid, which seems to be about 8m high with trees on the top. When you walk round the side of the pyramid, there is a path that leads most of the up the pyramid through a small forest. The trees are just happily growing there on the pyamid amongst the broken stones. From this level, the stonework of the top of the pyramid is visible and uncovered. The top of the pyramid takes you above the trees so that you can see the convent and another, bigger pyramid.

The next site I visited was the bigger pyramid I could see, called Kinich-Kakmo. From the road a path takes you part way up the pyramid to a small plateau where there are more trees growing on the stoney ground of the ruins, and there is the rest of the pyramid. Here I set up my camera to take a jumping photo, but my remote wasn’t working for some reason (I thought it must have been the batteries, but I managed to get it working later). Luckily someone offered to take the photo for me.

At the top of the pyramid there is a nice view and you can see for miles in every direction, since the area is so flat.

After visiting this site, we walked back into the centre and tried to find the site called Kabul, and I managed to find where the map said the entrace was, but it wasn’t there. So we headed to another site called Habuk. This site was pretty cool, but very overgrown. It looked like some of the houses on the same lot were built on the ruins, and had used stones from the ruins to buid their gardens walls.

After leaving this last site, a young girl asked me if I spoke English, and if I wanted to see here family making some big tamales (I think she wanted to practice here English, and it was a good opportunity for me to pracatice my Spanish). The girls family was making tamales in the ground. They had been buried with hot stones and coals, and covered with big leaves. They were digging them out when I got there.

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