Borrowed Stones

31 Jan

When the Spaniards arrived in Itzamal it was nearly deserted. Five great pyramids remained in what had been one of the most important cities of Mayan civilization. The ‘conquerors’ set to work dismantling the pyramids. And on the site of the largest pyramid, with the stones shaped by the Mayans for their patriarch priest Itzamna “dew of heaven,” was built the Franciscan convent of San Antonio de Padua.

DSC00966Even today the working convent has 75 arches and an atrium that is the biggest in the Americas, second in the world to the Piazza de San Pedro in the Vatican.






Franciscan Friar Diego de Land directed the construction of the convent.  He was also responsible for the burning of books and religious objects of the Maya. That burning, the auto de fe of Mani, hindered conversion of the remaining Indians to Christianity.



Today, Izamal is “the yellow city” as many of the village’s buildings are painted the same golden color as the convent.DSC00956





Even the horses match.



One Response to “Borrowed Stones”

  1. Barbara and Ernie Werren January 31, 2016 at 6:40 pm #

    Really interesting! Had heard of Land and the inexcusable burning of Maya books (scrolls, whatever…) What a terrible loss to the history of the Maya people…Hope to get to Merida someday…

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