Merida Travel Guide

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Cathedral at dawn

Cathedral at dawn

Ellen Fields

Merida’s lineage dates back to January of 1542 during the Spanish explorations of Mexico. Spanish nobleman Don Francisco de Montejo founded the city on the site of the ancient Maya city of T'Ho. Many of new city's buildings were constructed using stones expropriated from the Mayan ruins and some of those stones can still be seen today in the walls of Merida's main cathedral.

Today, Merida is a city of wide tree-lined boulevards and historic stately mansions.  It is the bustling capital of the State of Yucatan and its largest city, but it still manages to remain quaint and intimate. It has been known as the “Paris of the West” because of the many products once imported from France by Merida’s wealthy citizens, and because it was a center of culture and government. At one time is was also known as the “White City”. Theories abound about why it was named this:  from its tradition of people dressed in white to its white stone buildings built from native white limestone. Another theory holds that the title 'White City' referred to the city's colonial roots, when slaves and anyone 'non-white' was denied entry to the city; hence the term 'white city', meaning 'the city of the whites' a term coined by revolutionary Mayan indians during the violent and bloody Guerra de Castas or Caste Wars. Merida is the center of many Mayan ruins, colonial cities and nature attractions.

Merida is an inviting place to visit. In the past, it has only been a stopover on the way to the magnificent Maya ruins. Lately, more and more people have discovered what a  great treasure the city is. Merida is a city rich in Mayan folklore and colonial history; a city of contrasting sights, cultural blends, and a warm friendly people.


April 03, 2006 change by elmaloso (1 point)

October 23, 2006 change by giorgio

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