Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Yucatan. San Pedro Tekal

Tekal “Stone House with Flat Roof”

The little yellow church of San Pedro Tekal stands on a high platform, formerly a Maya temple mound. A steep flight of steps leads up to the gated entry of the walled atrium.
The arcaded triple espadaña above the church front, decorated with onion finials, was probably added in the 1800s.
The elevated apse, battlemented and supporting a belfry, may date from the 16th century when Tekal was a visita of Izamal. 
The nave is vaulted in traditional manner with log ceilings resting on broad stone archesThe sacristy is reached through a narrow passageway and contains several crucifixes. 

The silo-like stair tower on the north side, encloses a classic spiral caracol stairway, and a venerable monolithic baptismal font still stands in the nave.

Main Retablo
This altarpiece rests in the apse, framed by variety of spiral columns that enclose ornate reliefs. A statue of St Peter, the titular saint, occupies the upper niche.

text and images © 2022 Richard D. Perry

Monday, December 5, 2022

Yucatan. Tixhualactún

Tixhualactún, " place where one graven stone is placed upon another ”
is located just southeast of Valladolid, Yucatán's second city.
The most striking feature when you enter Tixhualactún is the huge crumbling old 17th century church on the main plaza, La Iglesia del Santo Cristo de la Exaltación or The Church of Saint Christ of the Exultation. 
Many of the building materials used to build this old church were in fact re-cycled from a previous Mayan temple standing here, said to be dedicated to the Maya god of rain and thunder, Chaac.
   In a state of nearly total neglect the substantial stone structure lost its vaulted roof to a cave-in—possibly a casualty of lightning strikes or more likely the result of fierce fighting here during the 19th century Caste War.

The facade is spectacularly cracked from top to bottom, threatening collapse. The entry archway is adorned by relief rosettes, an unusual feature in Yucatán.
Within the roofless nave, whose exposed walls are plain and rain streaked, a makeshift tin roofed shed stands before the lofty arched sanctuary, probably originally built as part of a former open “indian” chapel here.
Ogee arches and Moorish style pillars of the church porteria.

text ©2022 Richard D. Perry
images by the author and from online sources

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