As Mérida continues to grow, much of Yucatán’s low-lying jungle has given way to high rises, malls, and suburbs. But the town of Cholul is not to be confused with its many suburbs and is still incredibly charming.
But among the modern amenities of “modern Cholul” lay the remains of a bygone age when the Maya of Ichcanzijó ruled the land.
In Mérida’s northeast, the area known as Cholul has, in recent years, been one of the most rapidly expanding areas of the city.
From the 18th to the 20th century, Cholul and its surrounding areas were known for their productive henequen haciendas, which funded the grand homes which line avenues like Paseo de Motejo and Colon.
Part of the reason Cholul was so productive was due to its many cenotes and chultunes — or ancient water reservoirs left behind by the Maya.
Just opposite the San Pedro Cholul suburb are the ruins of another former hacienda known as Kankirixché — meaning yellow fruit.
Kankirixché was built during the henequen boom and evidence suggests that it sits on the location of an ancient Maya plaza, given the large amount of carved limestone in the area.
In the interior of the main structure, there is an arched ceiling, likely built in the late 19th century. To say that it does not look particularly inviting is a real understatement.
Back on the other side of Periférico, the remains of several Prehispanic structures are still visible, though their purpose is still unknown.
Some structures are remarkably similar to those found at sites like Oxmul, where many burials have been found.
It is unknown what purpose the remaining temples in Cholul served, though at least a few may have been used as elite burials.
Through countless structures that can be found in the surrounding bush, getting to them can be pretty tricky, as they are more often than not fenced off within private property.
Fortunately, city planners have managed to rescue a handful of ancient structures and created roundabouts around them to allow traffic to flow without disturbing these ancient sites.
If you go
Getting to Cholul is extremely easy by car, as well as public transit, though ride-sharing apps are always also an option.
The village of Cholul has itself become quite lovely, with a thriving market and even a handful of really nice restaurants.