Saturday, January 30, 2016

Yucatan: The Hermitage at Oxkutzcab

Many travelers to Yucatán are familiar with the town of Oxkutzcab, noted for its busy citrus market as well as its imposing 18th century church and colorful altarpiece.
However there is another treat in store for the curious visitor to Oxkutzcab: the quaint hilltop chapel or ermita of the Virgin of Pilar.  Beyond the main square, a long, paved ramp leads steeply up to this 17th century former hermitage, now a popular wedding chapel. 
On either side going up are traditional thatched Maya houses whose residents use the ramp for access.
Emblazoned over the doorway of the simple baroque facade is a rare colonial survival—a relief of the Spanish imperial insignia, crudely inscribed with the date 1697, with its twin pillars and the double headed Hapsburg eagle. 

Inside the chapel, a simple blue altar frames the image of the Virgin of Pilar perched precariously on her pillar, and nearby, a venerable painted wooden cross, dressed in traditional Yucatecan style with an elaborately embroidered cloth recuerdo.
text © 2016 Richard D. Perry.  1980s images © by the author

for complete details on the colonial churches of Yucatán
consult our classic guidebook

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