Mayan Archaeology > Yucatan > Yucatan
Discover the five Mayan pyramids hidden in the yellow city
Izamal is known as “the city of the hills”. The first signs of occupation are from the year 750 B.C. during the late Classic period; however, the city was founded upon the arrival of the Chanes, a group of Mayans who came from Bacalar, later called the Itzá people, towards the year 550 A.D.
The archaeological zone is integrated amongst colonial and contemporary buildings of the modern city.
Izamal was one of the main sites of Mayan civilization, established as one of the main settlements in the plains in the north of the Yucatán peninsula. The size of its buildings and the network of roads are testament to the power it held over commerce and production of salt through the port of Xcambó.
It developed a particular construction technique based on the use of megalithic blocks, with rounded corners and pinafore moldings.
It was an important center for pilgrimage, as it was the seat of worship to the god Itzamatul.
The Kinish Kak Moo pyramid is the most important, with a 200 by 200 meter base and a height is 34 meters. The building was dedicated to the Sun, a deity that came forth on a daily basis to collect its offerings, said to be seen in the form of a macaw of fire. To the southeast is another great pyramid called Itzamatul. The southwestern side of the main plaza is bordered by another pyramid known as Hun Pik Tok. The public space is closed by the Temple of the Kabul in the west.
The Convent, according to chronicles, was the highest building in the pre-Hispanic city. The Franciscans, taking advantage of the bases, built one of the most important convents in the Yucatán peninsula.
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From Mérida, take the southeast exit out of the city towards Valladolid. Continue on the federal highway leading to Txipéhual, Tixckokob and Cacalchén; after exiting the latter, take the highway to the right which leads to the town of Izamal, 20 kilometers away. The archaeological zone is in the center of the city.