Jewels of Colonial Architecture. The convents, temples and chapels of Yucatan form an important part of the historical and cultural legacy of the state. Built on the order of the nuns who settled here to evangelize the natives, they make for an interesting adventure while exploring the heart of Yucatan.
Uman – “Noisy path”. Here one can visit the magnificent parish of San Francisco. Once a XVI century Spanish Convent of immense proportions, the entrance is a quarried stone with three attractive oval arches and square columns positioned in pairs. You can spend some time in the market, or take an eco-taxi around the town.
Muna – “New Water”. This town houses the XVII century temple and convent of the Ascension, interesting for their lateral belfries, with three main parts finished off with a pine nut.
Oxkutzcab – “Place of the Ramon, Tobacco and Honey” was founded by a group of Maya Xiu after abandoning the city of Many. The temple of San Francisco de Asis was begun in 1581 and finished in 1699, according to the dates on the façade.
Inside, the altarpiece stands out with is spiraling columns and niches with sculptures. To one side is the cloister. A visit to the market to try the juicy exotic fruits will explain why Oxkutzcab is the “Orchard of Yucatan”.
Mani – “It All Happened,” was the place where Fray Diego of Landa ordered the burning and destruction of many Maya documents and statues during the Franciscan movement to convert the Indians to Christianity. Once a religious site of great importance, it still conserves some imposing examples of its enigmatic past, like the magnificent temple of the Convent of Saint Michael the Archangel dating back to 1549.
Another attraction is the open chapel, the first of its kind in the Yucatan and rivaling the temple itself in size. Behind the stately convent murals, the old orchard and the remains of the ancient waterwheel can be seen.
Teabo – Known for two sacred buildings, the Church and ex-Convent of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, built during the XVII century. The altarpiece has a striking pair of columnar figures and the Indian Chapel bearing back to 1617.
Chumayel – “Place of the Seeds” and cradle of the “Chilam Balam”, the sacred book of the Maya. The Temple of the Immaculate Conception was built in the XVI century and is a fine example of medieval religious architecture with battlements, brought to Yucatan by the first Spaniards. Of special interest is the black, wooden Christ in the interior of the temple.
Mama – The Franciscan temple and ex convent was founded in the year 1612 and is graced by a beautiful belfry at the front. The enclosed courtyard is one of the most famous in the region. Towards the back there’s a lovely garden with a waterwheel niches with saints.
Tekit – A prosperous town where the Parish Church of San Antonio de Padua has an image of a saint in each corner. The Church looks like a museum and the altar is quite simple.
Tecoh – Site of a church and convent dedicated to the virgin of the Assumption. Built over the base of a Maya pyramid, the church has a large amount of carved stone, an impressive altar and many paintings. In addition, numerous handcraft made local craftsmen are available.