In what is now Izamal’s Cultural and Artisanal Center (a handicrafts museum and shop), looking up can prove quite rewarding. Remnants of paint decorating the walls of the building hint at the building’s previous life as a general store. The main one, found across an archway, advertises OJERT, a brand of chocolate.
This advert is the clearest clue that the building was one of the town’s main sundry shops. Originally built as a large colonial house in the 16th century, part of it would eventually be used as a shop. After the shop itself was gone, a hostel occupied the space. Then in 2006, the building was converted into a museum, the Centro Cultural Y Artesanal, its current iteration.
Given that very little information can be found about OJERT chocolate, it is surprising that this particular bit of advertising has managed to survive all of the building’s many uses. While Mexico’s Yucatán is not as well-known as other states for growing cacao (such as Chiapas or Tabasco) or for producing chocolate (like Oaxaca), it did have an important history as one of the main shipping points for Mexican chocolate and cacao. This faded mural stands, if nothing else, as a reminder of that heritage.
Know Before You Go
While some of the paint can be seen from the street, it is worth going into the museum to look at them up close. Additionally, you'll get to appreciate its wonderful collection.
The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 10am-6pm.