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Izamal, Yucatán: Sketch of Main Plaza by Landa (1566)


Diego de Landa (1524-1579) came to Yucatán in 1549, and by 1561 became the Franciscan Provincial. He recorded many details of the Maya culture through the native informants Gaspar Antonio Chi and Nachi Cocom.

Among the sites in Yucatán he visited and described was Izamal, a Maya provincial capital during the Late Postclassic and also an important center of the cult of Kinich Ahau and Itzamná during the Classic period . This sketch of the terraced town center shows a temple and "very large and beautiful plaza" at the top of a steep stairway,with a chapel. This may have been the site of the  Late Postclassic temple to Chac, the rain god, which was removed to build a monastery.

[Fig.1: Landa's sketch of the Main Plaza at Izamal (Landa 1566).]

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