Plate #30: The Mission at Zacalaca
Quintana Roo, Yucatan, 1998
In the Yucatan, the Spanish relied on the order of the Franciscans who lived in poverty and preached the gospel in "imitation of Christ" to civilize and convert the local Mayan population. By 1582, the Franciscans had built more than 22 main mission towns and many outlying churches.
After being lost in the jungle for half the day during hurricane Mitch in 1998, we rounded a bend and suddenly there it was, Zacalaca! My first glimpse of this town was of an 18th century church, built on older ruins, perched upon a hill with massive cumulus clouds rising above. All the pain, sweat and anxiety of our morning drive suddenly disappeared as I jumped from the moving car to photograph this incredible scene. These early churches are spread throughout the Yucatan and continue to be as they were 400 years before, islands in a vast jungle ocean of primitive Mayan culture and history.
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