Exploring Colonial Mexico©
Our guidebook Maya Missions, includes six itineraries or mission routes that explore the Spanish colonial buildings of the Yucatán peninsula, which includes the present state of Yucatán, together with the neighboring states of Campeche and Quintana Róo.
1. The Camino Real
Describes the churches, chapels and monasteries along the old colonial "royal road" between the port of Campeche and Mérida, the provincial capital of Yucatán. This route includes the walled colonial city of Campeche, as it is preserved today. A new section has been added to describe the missions to the west of Mérida.
2. Mérida: The White City
This chapter looks at the significant colonial buildings remaining in Mérida: its cathedral and its old monasteries, including a description of a former Mérida landmark, the now destroyed Franciscan monastery that once stood atop a Mayan pyramid near the city center. The new edition also includes several smaller colonial churches and chapels in the city.
3. Missions of the Sierra
This route explores the numerous colonial churches and missions that lie in and beyond the Puuc, a chain of low hills along western Yucatán. This densely populated region is rich in ancient Maya sites, old haciendas and colonial towns.
4. Along the Frontier
In this less visited part of Yucatán we escort the traveler along the old colonial frontier, stopping at several churches now within the boundaries of Quintana Róo, and ending at the rambling monastery of San Bernardino near Valladolid - the second city of colonial Yucatán. Several colonial monuments have been added to this chapter in the new edition.
5. The Maya Heartland
Here we traverse central Yucatán, the locus of ancient Maya resistance to Spanish conquest. We visit many churches in the vicinity of Chichén Itzá, including the triple-towered temple of Yaxcabá and a number of additional monuments. For the new edition we have also added descriptions of several colonial missions and churches surrounding the great monastery at Izamal.
6. The Road to Dzidzantún
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- Map of Yucatan
- See our Yucatan archive for more on the colonial treasures of Yucatan