While workamping in Yuma, AZ during December 2018, we visited the officially established Center of the World according to Jacques-Andre Istel. It was located about 30 miles west of the resort we were staying at. We took Interstate 8 into California and after taking exit 164 you drive a few miles and come upon this “town” which includes a pyramid, a church, and a series of long granite walls with an abundance of history etched into them.
According to Jacques-Andre Istel, who is also the mayor, the center of the world is located within the pyramid that houses “the spot” designated by a bronze disk on the pyramid floor.
Great Day With Friends
We made the trip with friends and fellow workampers Maureen and Walt. Upon our arrival, we deposited $6 in the “honor system box” ($3 per person). We drove into the parking area and we were greeted by Felicia, Jacques-Andre’s wife. We were escorted to a building where there was seating and we watched a video explaining how Mayor Istel’s vision was born.
After the video, Felicia asked if we wanted to stand on the center of the world and we said we did. She collected an additional $2 from each of us and asked for our first and last name. She then escorted us to a door at the pyramid and we went inside. There was the bronze disk in the center and we were able to put the toe of our foot on the disk and at the same time asked to make a wish. We were able to take some photos and after the “ceremony” we were each given an official certificate to commemorate the occasion.
While walking around the grounds you will also see a metal spiral staircase from the Eiffel Tower, large “on the ground” checkerboard, a sculpture of God’s arm from Michaelangelo’s Dawn of Creation painting in the Sistine Chapel which acts as a sundial and desert bowling. There is also a small store.
We did climb the over 40 steps to the church and there were some nice views from up there. Even though was visited in December (during their open season) the church was locked and we could not go inside.
Overall we enjoyed our visit to this very unique place. The weather was beautiful to see and read most of the information on the granite walls. There were several blank granite walls waiting to be written on. It appears they have much more historical information to share on the blank walls.
You can spend as little as an hour or as much as 4 hours depending on what you want to see. When you start reading the history engraved into the granite you lose all track of time. For only a few bucks this was an interesting stop and we would recommend you stop and check it out if you’re in the area.