Merida City is the capital and the largest city of the Yucatan State and the Yucatan Peninsula. With about 828,000 people (2010 census), Merida is a wonderful mixture of colonial city and cosmopolitan destination.
It was founded in 1542 on the site of a large Mayan city which in the the mayan language was known as T’ho. T’ho means “five hills”, referring to the five pyramids that Spaniards dismantled to build a new city.
Merida’s historical center, known as one of the largest in the Americas, is said to be built out of sacred stones of those pyramids.
Merida City and the state of Yucatan have always been geographically isolated from the rest of Mexico, which helped to better preserve the unique Mayan culture. In the city streets you can see women wearing brightly colored, embroidered traditional huipil blouses; men wearing the Caribbean guayabera shirt. There are many hotels in Merida, in all parts of the city. For your convienence head to the ones that are near the main square.
Locals call their beloved city “The White Merida”. During the day, the white facades of its colonial buildings glow under the tropical sun, making this nickname well deserved.
With a climate resembling that of Florida, and a peaceful population that respect their roots and traditions, Merida has become a favorite place to relocate or to spend vacation.
The history of Merida City has been influenced by the henequen plant. It became known as ‘green gold’. Thanks to the henequen trade in the early 20th century, Merida became home for numerous millionaires, who built their impressive haciendas on the street called Paseo Montejo. Locals call this street “The Champs Elysees” of Merida and acknowledge it as one of the main attractions of this beautiful city.
You will also see many of the famous Haciendas that are in Merida, these are old buildings that you can visit.
Merida is a perfect destination not only to stay in the city, but also as a jumping off point for day trips to the nearby Mayan ruins in the Mayan World (Kabah, Sayil, Xlapak and Labna which are better known as the ´The Puuc Route´). Here you will learn about the mayan culture and more about this ancient mayan civilization.
The well preserved Mayan language and traditions, the fascinating architecture, history, food and friendly smiling people, make Merida one of the Mexico’s most appealing cities to visit.
Our top 5 things to do in Merida Mexico:
1. The most important thing to do in Merida Mexico is go and see the Palacio Municipal. In the evenings and on Sundays you can see dancing and concerts.
2. Visit Casa de Montejo, this is located on the south side of the plaza. It was built between 1543 and 1549 as the palace of the first Spanish governors. It is now a bank and you can see the original portico of the Montejo Family coat of arms
3. The 19th century Palacio de Gobierno, next to the cathedral, houses the Yucatan state authorities. It is remarkable for the numerous large murals adorning its courtyard, stairs ad a first floor lobby.
4. Just of calle 60, one of the city´s major roads, is Parque Cepeda Peraza, a small bustling square. Visitors can watch the many musicians and street merchants, or relax in one of the open air cafes.
5. Merida prides itself on being the cultural capital of the Yucatan Peninsula, and the Teatro Jose Peon Contreras is one of the main showcases. Built at the turn of the 20th Century with money from the sisal trade, it is a extravagant Neo-Classical creation in peach and white, with elaborate chandeliers and a massive foyer.