If you have ever taken a day trip to Uxmal, it’s likely that you’ve seen some interesting place names along the way, like Xtepén and Yaxcopoil, Peba and Cacao. These are all small villages that formed around sisal plantations, and of these, Yaxcopoil is one of the largest.
The current owner, Miguel Faller, bought the hacienda property from the many family members that owned pieces of it, thanks to the property having been passed down through several generations. Since 1994 he has been slowly but surely restoring it to some of it’s architectural splendor and has created a unique space: a hacienda with original XIX-century furnishings which is truly a glimpse to what a Yucatecan hacienda would have looked like in its heyday.
Starting with some basic repairs and necessary structural work, the restoration has been ongoing and constant. In a construction like this, the humidity of Yucatán’s rainy season and the arid months of April and May wreak havoc on the rubblestone, with walls and ceilings expanding and contracting constantly. Walls settle and start leaning inwards and outwards, straining the roofs and requiring concrete reinforcements to hold them together.
The paint on the walls is always temporary, as the limestone leaches through and makes repainting an annual necessity. On the subject of paint, one thing you will notice at Hacienda Yaxcopoil’s newly repaired and restored rooms and facades, is what appears to be delicate floral wallpaper in each room. Different designs and patterns are found in each room; the colors and motifs complimenting the colors of the Pasta floor tiles. But what is truly amazing is that the walls have all been repainted by hand, according to the original designs found under a light yellow lime-based wash that was applied. This wash never really stuck to the paint underneath and so, as it flaked off, the true details underneath were revealed.
Don Miguel had already hired a sign painter from nearby Umán to paint up some signage at the Hacienda, and quickly found that Alejandro had a talent that went beyond simple lettering. He was able to painstakingly recreate the patterns on the hacienda walls, often taking several weeks to complete one room. There is more to this than simply painting delicate flowers and ornamentation over and over in lines; the rooms, doors, and roofs in a building this old are not “plum,” which requires an artistic eye to make the patterns flow seamlessly and continuously throughout each room.
The latest round of restorations, which began in 2014 after a wedding reception at the hacienda, will continue well into the next decade. There is no end in sight, as the property will constantly and continually require maintenance, paint, and upkeep. As don Miguel says, when you think you have finished, it’s time to go back to where you began and start over. A labor of love, no doubt.
Carretera Mérida – Uxmal, Km 220
Cel. 9999 00 11 93
Mon. – Sat 8 am – 6 pm, Sun. 9 am – 3 pm
By Ralf Hollmann
Photography by Laura Pasos and Juan Manuel Mier y Teran for their use in Yucatán Today
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