We were introduced to the Convento Sisal, the former convent of San Bernardino de Siena, located in the Sisal neighborhood of Valladolid, by a driver we hired for the day out of Cancun. We have found that this is the best way to see places on our own timeframe, and have places like this that are off the general tour routes, pointed out to us. Without our driver we never would have known about this wonderful place.
The convent, or monastery, was begun in 1552, and completed in 1560, built by the Franciscans (I’m sure not really by the Franciscans, but by the Maya that lived in this region when the Spaniards arrived).
There were multiple levels of the convent that we were not able to see, but we could hear a choir singing from somewhere that really added to this experience
The church of the convent was reflective of the churches of past times seen throughout Mexico, and is in the process of some restoration. We saw a couple of people working on a fresco, and as we wound our way back through, they had cleaned up the area for the day
The property consists of the church, a small chapel, atrium, and gardens
The Cenote Sis Ha is found here in the gardens, and was the site of the second largest water wheel in the Yucatan that had an incredible hydraulic system. The wheel itself is gone and the cenote covered as can partially be seen in my photo here taken inside the building around the cenote.
There is also a small museum devoted to some of the artifacts of the convent
The convent is in Valladolid in the Yucatan near the Maya ruins of Ek Balam that we saw earlier in the day. Ek Balam will be next up in our travels here on the Sunday Chronicle.