Sunday, February 7, 2016

Yucatan then and now: Akil

Santa Inez Akil in 2015 (© Niccolo Brooker)
Located south of Oxkutzcab, the church of Santa Inés Akil is a classic Yucatecan country mission, enclosed by a walled atrium that retains its arched west gateway—still topped with a stone cross. 
Akil, side view (1983)
The long nave, with its sheer walls and barrel vault, links the diminutive 16th century Indian chapel, with its little belfry, at the east end to the west front, whose sinuous espadaña bears a family resemblance to that of nearby Tekax. 
Akil, facade with espadaña (1983)
The facade itself is plain save for a diminutive relief above the choir window of the Franciscan crossed arms flanked by the sun and moon. 
Franciscan arms with sun and moon (2015 © Niccolo Brooker)
Originally built atop a former Maya pyramid, the apse reveals embedded, carved Maya stones, more of which also appear in the village market place.  
Akil, Maya stonework in the marketplace (© Christian Heck)
The plain interior is marked by deep niches within the massive walls, one of which contains an unusual retablo of the Crucified Christ with painted figures
 Akil, painted retablo (© Christian Heck)

text © 2016 Richard D. Perry.  images by the author, Niccolò Brooker and Christian Heck

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

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