The fact is that Mérida
impresses and overwhelms
at the same time; its superb buildings of Hispanic features, its
splendid palaces and exquisite colonial haciendas, and those surged
during the boom of a vegetal fibre called henequen, awaken the admiration
of both locals and strangers, but are also the cold evidence of
a history full of injustices and the ostracism of the indigenous
Contradictions on the surging of Mérida
and build, tear down the sanctuaries and palaces of the Mayan City
of T'ho, an architectonic boast that impressed Hispanic founder
Francisco de Montejo, "The Young", for the purpose of using those
same stones in building those colonial big houses and churches,
that fill with pride the capital of the current State of Yucatan,
created on January the 6th of 1542.
Ironically, it was the resemblance of the Mayan precincts with the
Roman ruins existing in the City of Mérida
Spain, that inspired the conquistadors when the time to name the
first Iberian settlement on the Yucatan Peninsula came; nevertheless,
the evocation and remembrance of their distant homeland, did not
diminish the destructive desires of the newly arrived.
Magnificent monuments from the colonial period have survived, such as the Cathedral of San Idelfonso, from the late XVI century, and its neatly achieved early Spanish renaissance style; or the House of Montejo, a notable sample of civil architecture of the mid XVI century, where the conquistador and city's founder used to live.
Other emblematic jewels of Mérida's
are located on Montejo Drive, amongst which the Canton Palace stands
out, a majestic residence of mannerist and baroque characteristics
that was the property of General Francisco Canton, one of the entrepreneurs
enriched thanks to the henequen, the vegetal fibre that was an economic
and commercial boom by the late XIX and early XX centuries.
The wealth generated by the so-called "green gold of Yucatan", only benefited a few, usually greedy landlords who spent their money at full hand in order to satisfy their desires and lavish way of life, whilst at the same time were mean before the Mayan farmhand, who were forced to leave their skins at the plantations with no economic benefits whatsoever.
is not only a destination of colonial
characteristics; there are also pre Hispanic traces in its urban
space, such as the Mayan sculptures of the ancient T'ho, also known
as Ichcaanziho (Five Hills); and the pyramids and temples of Chichén
Itzá, the incomparable pre Hispanic city of religious character
that is located just 120 kilometres away from the city.
The Pyramid of Kukulkán or The Castle, considered as one of the wonders of Mayan architecture for its magnificent proportions, related to the measuring of time, stand out within this archaeological compound. The beautiful Temple of the Warriors with its formidable stone sculptures also stands out in this site.
The Mayas, a civilisation that extended across the current territories of Mexico and Guatemala, also left the Citadel of Uxmal to humanity, with temples and palaces of splendid designs; besides the most valuable compound of Dzibilchaltún, with its more than 8 thousand stone constructions. It is located at only 22 kilometres from the capital of Yucatan.
A visit to Mérida
, a city located at 510 kilometres
from the City of Mexico, must include a tour along the beaches of
Progreso, a tourist magnet of sand and sea; and the Port of Celestún,
a paradise for those loving wildlife, with mangroves, isles and
lagoons that host a great variety of flora and fauna.
As the capital of Yucatan, the city has a well developed tourist
infrastructure with hotels and restaurants, some of which work in
the elegant palaces that made of Mérida
of the New World".
To know in order to not forget; to visit pyramids and temples, churches
and big old houses, all of them impacting, all beautiful; then travellers
sense that an inerasable memory begins to fix in their heads: the
memory of Mérida
and its thrilling history, of
and its palaces, of Mérida
and its Mayan imprint and its colonial inheritance; Mérida
and its crossbred countenance, the face of present Mexico.