Pueblos Magicos: Izamal “The Yellow City” in Yucatan is one of Mexico’s Magical Villages
The town of Izamal is located in the middle of the Yucatan Peninsula in the state of Yucatan Mexico. Its location means that even during the winter the temperature doesn’t really drop below 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of these wonderful conditions, visitors year-round are able to enjoy old-fashioned horse-drawn carriage rides through out the town’s cobblestone streets adorned by egg-yolk colored buildings and period streetlights. It is said that visiting Izamal, where you can see pyramids, colonial buildings, parks, plazas and horses, is like awakening in the early 20th century.
Izamal is one of the oldest cities in Yucatan and was actually built within the ancient Mayan city of Kinich Kakmo. In Mayan times the town was know for its powers of healing. People from all over the Yucatan peninsula would go on pilgrimages to Izamal, a tradition that continues to this day.
At the center of the town is the San Antonia de Padua Convent that was built on top of a Mayan pyramid in 1561, using the stones from the pyramid itself. The convent is famous for its seven thousand square meter cloister, the largest in America, which is surrounded by 75 arches that form along corridor at the perimeter. Within the convent is the Purísima Concepcíon Church, which contains the statue of the Virgin of Izamal and the largest atrium in Latin America. Three days a week, this space hosts a sound and light show called Maya Light.
Just outside of the town is a grand archeological zone that contains a large ceremonial plaza that is flanked by the remains of five pyramids. This area was the site for many rituals that the Mayans performed to their gods.
When dinning in Izamal, you will find several Yucateco favorites like chaya with egg, salbutes, panuchos, pipián, papadzules, mucbil, pime, joroche, and one of Mexico’s most famous dishes, cochinita pibil.
The Pueblos Magicos program identifies towns that reflect “the culture of Mexico” through attributes like architecture, traditions, customs, music, gastronomy, festivities and handcrafts. There are currently 52 destinations throughout Mexico that have earned the Pueblos Magicos classification.