'The Yellow City'

Imagine yourself landing in a city. You turn around and all you see is yellow-painted buildings everywhere. Houses, churches, shops, restaurants, just everything that you can see reflects yellow to your eyes. Well, this is a reality in a Mexican city Izamal, situated in the state Yucatan.

Izamal, a truly beautiful small town is one among 52 destinations in Mexico given the Pueblos Magico (magical town) status. The Pueblos Magicos program identifies towns that reflect “the culture of Mexico” through attributes like architecture, traditions, customs, music, gastronomy, festivities and handcrafts. Izamal is quite famous for the colonial architecture as well as mayan ruins. All the houses and other buildings painted in golden yellow adds to the city's beauty. This was done so in honor of the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1993. The town has earned the nickname La Ciudad Armarillo (The Yellow City) because of this.

Called the City of Hills and located right in the middle of the Yucatán Peninsula, Izamal may be the oldest city in the Yucatán. Izamal was an important Maya religious center and today you can visit the ruins of four large pyramids that overlook the center of town. It is said that Izamal is atown alive in three cultures -the ancient Mayan, the colonial, and the present day bustling Izamal.

Here in Izamal, the main mode of travel for guests, tourists and the locals is the calesa (horse-drawn carriage). The sounds of the horses' footsteps will surely make you feel as if you've stepped back in time.  After the arrival of the Spanish, the Maya pyramids and temples were destroyed and colonial buildings and churches built in their place, often using the original Maya stones and building materials.

In the center of Izamal you’ll find the Convento de San Antonio de Padua (Convent of San Antonio Padua), an enormous Franciscan monastery and one of the oldest Catholic monasteries in the Americas. The Convent of San Antonio Padua is painted the same shade of golden-yellow as the rest of Izamal.

The most important thing to see here is the Franciscan convent that was built over one of the Mayan pyramids. This convent is also famous for the monk Fray Diego de Landa, its founder, who burned all the Indian scripts, and then, feeling remorse for what he had done, tried to rewrite all he could remember of the ways of the Mayas.

Clean, peaceful and quaint, this is a great town to stroll through. 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.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.

All images from yucatan.travel/inicio/

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