Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Churches of the Yucatan Frontier: Huaymax and X-Querol

Having described the larger frontier churches of Sabán and Sacalaca, we should not leave the Yucatán/Quintana Róo border zone with a look at two of the typical smaller visitas in the immediate area, both of them in ruins since the mid-1800s and abandoned until recent times.
Huaymax in 1984

Concepción Huaymax
This little mission was an early victim of the 19th century Caste War. Until fairly recently, its crumbling belfries, fire-blackened choir beams and weed-filled sanctuary proclaimed its long neglect and disuse. These photographs, taken in the early 1980s, reflect its abandonment and neglect.
Huaymax, the burned choir loft. 1984

Huaymax started life as a dependency of the Franciscan mission at nearby Ichmul. Its primitive Indian chapel, the arch of which can still be seen, was expanded into a church in the 1700s, whose nave was covered by a steeply pitched, thatched roof, and faced with a stuccoed limestone facade with elegant "moorish" side belfries featuring pointed arches.

Although still missing its roof, the church has now been stabilized, cleaned up and reclaimed by local evangelists, who worship beneath a ramada—now metal instead of thatch—in front of the old open chapel/sanctuary, much like the Maya Christian converts of the 400 years ago.
San Juan X-Querol
Like Huaymax, X-Querol was burned out during the Caste War. Although the original thatched roof was destroyed, the new roof, part wood and part sheet metal, follows its original steep pitch, recreating the early internal ambience of the nave.
Here, diminutive towers replace the customary belfries on either side of the otherwise typical, plain triangular front. X-Querol also retains much of its original walled atrium—a rarity in Yucatan—possibly part of an old Maya sacbe.
text © 2018 Richard D. Perry
color images by the author and courtesy of Benjamin Arredondo
Please visit our other pages on the frontier churches of Yucatán: Chemax; ChikindzonotIchmul; SacalacaSabán; Peto/Petulillo;

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