Izamal, City of the Three Cultures. A thirty-five minute drive from our Chichén Itzá Hotels, lays the town of Izamal, known as Zamná by the original Maya communities settled in the area. The meaning of this name as “Heaven dew” was honoring a very important and powerful master who guided and instructed the Maya of this community.
Its historical origins dated from 300 years before our time by the late Post Classical period. This important settlement founded by the Maya, and registered by Spanish Bishop Diego de Landa in his Chronicles of travel to Yucatan (“Relación de las cosas de Yucatan de Diego de Landa”) by 1541 mentions the ritualistic ceremonies held in this place honoring God Itzamatul the creator of Maya men, rain and dry seasons. This God was also the creator of Universe and Maya religion.
The Spanish Franciscan Monks founded this beautiful colonial town by the half of 16th century, during their evangelization to Yucatan. They established a small Christian temple atop the great pyramid and building a large Franciscan Monastery atop the acropolis (former Maya Pap-Hol-Chac ceremonial center). It was named after San Antonio de Padua.
Built in 1553 and completed in 1561, the atrium of the Monastery was second in size only to that of the Vatican. This Catholic oratory made out of the cut stone from the Pre-Columbian city was reused to build the Spanish churches, monastery and surrounding buildings. At the present time, the most important temple of Izamal is called Kinich Kak Moo or Great Pyramid.
This is the third tallest structure of the Yucatan Peninsula located at the main square. At the top, there is a platform that could be used for different ceremonies. The Ministry of Tourism has named this city as “Magic Town” in 2002. Most of its architecture remarks Spanish and Arabesque influence. All constructions are white and yellow painted in plain harmony.
There is a Light and Sound show performed at this city called “Light of the Maya” every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 8:00 PM.