You zig here, zag there on your way up to the massive convento that sits atop a former Mayan pyramid in Izamal, in Mexico’s Yucatán, observed by a lone sentinel at the gate.
The walk up Izamal’s ancient Convento San Antonio de Padua seems imposing, because once you’re on top of the once-grand pyramid, you’re nearly on top of the world. And it’s an oddly all-yellow world.
Built after Spain’s 16th-century conquest of Yucatán by Franciscans who were anxious to impose Catholicism upon pagans, the monastery that was erected with Mayan labor, using stones from the pyramid they dismantled, is now painted the same egg yolk yellow that the entire city of Izamal is painted—giving it the name, “The Yellow City.”
You push past one of many wrought iron gates towards a rich dark red door that beckons you to step back in time.
Look down to see two women wearing traditional Mayan dresses passing by the massive convento, walking along the same path that once led to the great pyramid built to honor the Maya Sun God, Kinich Kak Mo.
From within every arch, the stained glass Madonna of Izamal follows you around the convento’s huge plaza, glittering and vibrant under the hot Yucatán sun, as if praying for Bishop Diego de Landa’s soul—guilty of burning every ancient Mayan script in 1562.
Above it all, the young woman leans patiently along a white-trimmed balustrade, like a modern madonna whose intent is benevolent but whose gaze is watchful.
And somewhere back in time, the time has stopped on the tower clock. ♣
Read more about The Yellow City of Izamal here, about the Convento’s history under the Franciscans here, and see more photographs from my Mission Mexico gallery here. To purchase any of these prints, email me.
Nice composition! I like the lines!
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Thanks, Roberto, nice of you to visit and comment. There are lots of lines to be seen in those photographs, that’s for sure. That’s what drew me in, to tell the truth. What do you like to shoot?
Hi Jann, I enjoy a lot shooting urban sites. In my blog there are pictures of some european cities I have visited. Hope you can give me some feedback on them. Do you like my composition?
Yes, I just visited your blog, enjoying your images very much. Not sure how to read it though; is there a way to view in English? Of course the photos tell the story!
I am still trying to figure out as I have seen some bloggers have inserted a button on their sites that translates a post automatically via google translator.
what really strong vibrant colour, a great selection for the zig zag challenge.
Thanks Daniel, and back at you! I see you’re a fan of deep rich blue. Nicely done.
Fantastic photos, Jann. The color is over the top beautiful to me. I’ll have to put Izamal on my list for my next trip to Yucatan.
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No doubt about it, if you like yellow, Izamal is paradise. Can’t wait to hear how you like it! Just a short trip from the Cancun airport, too.
Fabulous photos! I’d love to visit Izamal one day. Thanks for sharing.
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Hope you do, Terri, it’s amazing to see an entire city in yellow. The ultimate in tourism marketing!
Love the shot of the Modern Madonna – great contrast and composition.
She made a great subject, thanks Lynne.