El Cedral is on Cozumel, 8 miles south of San Miguel. Turn at Km 17.5 off the main island road, then drive 3 km (2 mi) inland to the site. COST: Free. Dawn-dusk. El Cedral is believed to be an important ceremonial site. It is the most accessible of Cozumel's ruins. The ancient structure is the size of a small house, so keep your eyes peeled. Nearby is a green and white cinder block church, decorated inside with crosses shrouded in embroidered lace. El Cedral is thought to have been an important ceremonial site. It is the oldest Maya site on the island (700 AD) and it is the most accessible. Once the hub of Maya life on Cozumel, was the first site found by the Spanish in 1518 and where they celebrated their first mass in Mexico.
The Spanish destroyed most of the site and the U. S. Army Corp of Engineers leveled all but one structure completing World War II airfield. All that remains is a small structure with an arch; be sure to look inside to see the faint traces of paint and stucco. Nearby is a green and white cinder block church, decorated inside with crosses shrouded in embroidered lace. Cedral became the islands first official city in 1847. Today, the area is occupied by a small farm settlement. Cedral hold an agricultural fair each May. The history of this city is explored every year at the Festival of El Cedral. For more than 150 years this event has been held in El Cedral annually in the month of April. The event was first introduced by Casimiro Cardenas, a member of a group of survivors who fled from a mainland village called Saban to El Cedral after the War of the Castes.
Legend has it that Cardenas survived a brutal attack that saw the deaths of many villagers all the while holding a wooden cross. This led him to start the annual festival to honor the power of the crucifix. Many tourists visit El Cedral in the spring just to experience the festival in April.The El Cedral Festival is a village celebration that lasts about five days. There is a Holy Cross Festival, which makes up part of the El Cedral Festival. The fair includes traditional feasts, dances, rodeos, bullfights, live music concerts, a cattle show and numerous competition. The favorite past times of celebrators include the fine dining, the many unique costumes and cultural dance and of course the tasty Mexican beer! This Mayan ruin, functioned as a jail in the 19th century.
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