When exploring Yucatan, all roads lead to Merida, its beautiful capital. As well as being the Colonial city for excellence, Merida is the ideal departure point for excursions to the main archaeological sites, cities and colonial towns.
Up until 500 years ago Merida was the ancient Mayan city of T'ho or Ichcaanshiho, or “Face of Infinity”. Merida was founded in the year 1542 by Francisco de Montejo, “El Mozo” (The younger), after he overcame various Mayan lords, the splendid temples and places of worship reminded him of Spanish warriors. The beautifully carved limestone buildings with their ancient Roman moldings of Merida, Spain, inspired de Montejo to baptize this city with the same name as the imperial and secular Spanish metropolis.
Since its foundation, Merida has existed as a colonial city, with streets and squares in a symmetrical grid in the style of the old Castilian and Andalucian towns: the original patterns prevail today.
Among the many other attractions is the traditional Montejo Avenue (Paseo de Montejo), an elegant thoroughfare and site of the magnificent Italian Renaissance architecture of the Canton Palace. This splendid building is now the Museum of Anthropology and History. And as if that weren't enough, the city has countless museums dedicated to anthropology, archaeology, antiques and popular art, proving once again that this really is the cultural heart of Yucatan.
Viewing the streets you can't help but feel the romantic, provincial atmosphere, testimony to a past rich in history and legend. After dark a delightful transformation takes place, when horse-drawn carriages and sidewalk cafes appear as if from nowhere, and troubadours fill the starry night with music and poetry. For this and much, much more, come to Merida!